Federal Reserve and IMF are Getting Good with Handouts.

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FX Trading –Federal Reserve and IMF are Getting Good with Handouts
Does the ‘establishment of temporary reciprocal currency arrangements’ mean anything to you?

Yeah, it kind of went by me in a blur the first time I read it. Basically, this has become one of the side shows for the Federal Reserve. They cut their benchmark lending rate yesterday by 50% and at the same time established temporary reciprocal currency arrangements (more commonly known as swap lines) with four more global central banks … bringing the total number of arrangements between the FOMC and other central banks up to 14.

The recent additions are of emerging market central banks: Singapore, Brazil, South Korea and Mexico. The goal here, for the Fed, is to help fight off the systemic financial crisis that’s begun to hit hard in these smaller, developing markets.

What these swap lines do is increase the liquidity of US dollars and hopefully restores semi-normal money flow within these, and surrounding, economies.

Another measure has been taken by the International Monetary Fund. They recently struck deals with Ukraine and Iceland, and since then have also finalized business with Hungary.

What they have now set-up they are calling the Short-term Liquidity Facility (SLF). The main goal of SLF is to fund these pint-sized economies without question so that they can shore up their deteriorating financial positions.

So with roughly $30 billion granted to these four newest central bank recipients and a deadline of April 30, 2009 to get things back on track, plus the IMF’s newly announced SLF …

… will these steps cure the illness or just alleviate the symptoms of ailing emerging market economies?

Our guess: simply alleviate the symptoms. A cure is still a long ways off.

Lacking in many features of strong, well-rounded economies, most of these emerging markets have put all their chips into their exports sector. They rely almost entirely on neighboring and developed economies buying up cheap goods and raw materials – these swap lines and lending facility aren’t going to compensate for that fact.

There are still too many problems – throughout all economies of the world – that need fixing before generous demand can return. Until then, developing economies will wallow in self-pity, smacking themselves in the forehead because they made no investment in their domestic economies but rather only on the insatiable consumption of larger foreign economies (there are of course some noted exceptions here—Brazil being one of them).

The way we look at it, this is something that’s only beginning. As quickly as these economies gained the backing of foreign investors in the last couple years, these same foreign investors (whether individuals or institutions) are running for cover just as fast.  Thus it is no surprise the emerging market stocks have been slammed—even harder than the developing world variety.

In witnessing the last couple months of currency trading, it’s obvious where this capital is fleeing for refuge. That’s one of the factors, and a powerful one, behind our view that the buck is entering a multi-year bull market; at the expense of most major and emerging market currencies.

  • jgoodwin

    Thank you for the time that you put into these articles.

  • jgoodwin

    Thank you for the time that you put into these articles.