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“Well, I give the answer Ben Gurion once gave: to be realistic today you need a great deal of utopia. Running away from the most obvious solutions is not realism. It’s crisis management, condemning you to more and more crisis management.”

                              Robert Triffin, in reaction to being accused of being naïve by still believing in the possibility of reforming the international monetary system.

FX Trading – Dollar higher on reported APEC buying
Didn’t your mother ever tell you that sarcasm would get you nowhere in life Mr. Treasury Secretary:

Reuters (12 Nov 09): U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Thursday a strong dollar was important for global stability and Asia was leading the global economic recovery. "We are seeing Asia lead the world back to recovery," he told a news conference at the end of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum ministerial meeting. A strong dollar was important for the United States, which also recognizes the important role the currency plays in global economic stability, he said.

My reaction to the Mr. Geithner’s comment about a strong dollar is the typical reaction I bet; there is good reason. That’s because for about seven or eight years we have been told by Treasury Secretaries present and past that a strong dollar is good for America. Yet, the same set of Treasury Secretaries seem to do very little to support a policy they say they believe in. In fact, they institute policies that make it clear the US dollar is more important as a tool to lubricate global markets (part of the world reserve currency status role proving that Mr. Triffin was right), thus we need plenty of them out there. Lots of supply usually means lower prices for a product that is ruled by supply and demand forces. The dollar is no different.

Could there be a demand shift?

This morning, The Wall Street Journal is reporting Thailand, Korea, Russia, and maybe
others are in there buying the US dollar with both hands and feet. Thailand and Korea
have a lot of hands and feet, Russia not so much as it used to now that it’s losing the
battle of demographics. All these countries have a vested interest—to slow the decent
in the dollar and corresponding ascent of their currencies. Of course the big dog on the
block—China—seems quite happy with the dollar decline thanks to their crawling peg,
which doesn’t seem to crawl much in the appreciation direction.

Within the Journal story, it’s reported the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) nations would like to see China make its currency more flexible, i.e. allow that crawling
peg to crawl up instead of consistently down. In the background, all nations understand
that global rebalancing is happening, i.e. rebalancing of overproduction in the east
against overconsumption in the west. China’s peg to the dollar goes to the core of that

But here’s the rub for the Asian block countries: If China for some heavenly reason, one
only a very smart, good looking, and well dressed CNBC analyst can tell us about after
the fact, does decide to let its currency appreciate against the US dollar then the entire
Asian block of currencies will likely move higher along with the big dog’s.

The dollar is bouncing this morning. Stocks are lower. I even show gold prices lower on
my screen at the moment—that’s a big deal in itself, though down only slightly. Could Mr. Greenie stage a sustained bounce? Technically overdue, APEC buying might be a good reason to attach.