Excerpted from Gillian Tett, ft.com:
Back in 1985, when the deal was first struck to strengthen the yen, many American observers initially considered it a success. For in the late 1980s, the currency moved towards the Y150 level, where it stayed for several years. Read more
Yowkers. Interesting timing for Japan to go back into the FX markets and sell the yen for the first time in six years. On Wednesday the US Congress cranks up its China currency campaign again, this time the House as well as the Senate coming up with a bill allowing the US to block Chinese imports on grounds of currency misalignment.
As I wrote before, it’s not clear which way this development cuts. Does it make it easier to confront China because another G7 country has been forced to deal with the effects of Chinese currency intervention, or does it make it harder to argue that China should stop intervening when Beijing can point at Tokyo and say “them too”? Read more
Proposals to wean eastern Europe off the euro may be misguided.
Plans are afoot to foster local currency wholesale funding: by giving banks local currency credit, the theory goes, they will be able to pass local currency loans on to consumers. Doing this would reduce FX risks for homeowners, who earn in local currencies but often pay back debts in the euro or swiss franc. Read more
Two points stand out from the latest BIS quarterly review.
First, a warning on mismatched maturities. Ingo Fender and Patrick McGuire, of BIS, point out the continued reliance of European banks on wholesale* instruments and FX swaps. Banks forced to roll over short maturity debt risk agreeing new debt on worse terms. The authors point out that if conditions worsen, maturities will become even shorter, exacerbating the problem (p63):
Such funding patterns put a premium on contingency funding arrangements for international banks and underline the need for further diversification in banks’ funding profiles … In particular, they point to potential benefits from improvements to FX swap market infrastructure, such as the use of central counterparties to allow multilateral netting and more efficient collateral management
Second, Naohiko Baba (BoJ) and Ilhyock Shim (BIS) find Read more