Once again, most finance moguls and central bank officials from the G20 kingdoms pledged their allegiance to their stimulus programs, claiming that it was still too early to implement exit strategies. According to the G20 summit, the recent economic recovery depends largely on easing policies and that high unemployment could undermine growth. Keeping their stimulus programs in place would provide support for the economy until it can stand on its own.
We’ve been hearing these same old words from the G20 leaders since their September meetings in London and Pittsburgh. Back then, it seemed prudent for them to continue implementing their easing policies in order to spur economic recovery. Now that we’ve seen plenty of signs of economic growth, aren’t they getting tired of the usual sit-and-wait strategy? Did anything new come up this time?
There was one particular event (or rather, non-event) that set this November summit apart from the preceding meetings. Instead of discussing their concerns on the dying dollar, the G20 nations decided to avoid the issue completely. Quite odd, considering that some of the participants of the summit have shown a lot of unease on how the dollar is recently trading in the foreign exchange market.
Take for instance Canada. The BoC has been saying time and time again on how the persistent strength of the Canadian dollar would put a strain on their exports and would eventually stunt growth. ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet also said before that a strong dollar is extremely important now that the global economy is starting to recover. On the other side of the world, the RBNZ, although not part of the G20, has been echoing the same concerns as the BoC.
Hmmmm… pretty interesting don’t ya think? Just when major economies all over the world start distressing about the dollar’s value, they suddenly go mute when the opportunity to talk about the issue TOGETHER comes along…
Traders saw this lack of currency talks as a deliberate exclusion from their meeting’s agenda, employing some sort of passive action – a silent treatment. Perhaps they just want the invisible hand to work its magic? Are the G20 nations letting the markets do their own thing while they lean on the side of caution?
The G20’s commitment to keep stimulus programs in place, particularly by US Treasury hotshot Timothy Geithner, also contributed to the broad-based dollar selling. The Dollar Index slipped back to its 2009 lows, losing about 1% of its value.
The global capitals markets, including treasuries, commodities, and the “anti-dollar” currencies all staged strong rallies against the greenback. Almost all majors went soaring! Gold flew to a new historical high at $1,111.70/ounce before closing at $1,101.40/ounce. Oil also soared above $80/barrel before settling at $79.43/barrel. The Fiber (EURUSD) rose back to the 1.50 handle once again. The Aussie even gapped up before revisiting its yearly high around 0.93. The Kiwi, similar to the Aussie, bypassed some pips to close around 0.74. The Swissy, on the other hand, stepped a day-range closer to parity.
What could be in store for future meetings? Their next agenda might depend on what news and dominate sentiment in coming the months. If data supports that the economies are indeed improving, would we finally hear about the gang’s potential exit strategies? Chances are, however, that the G20 nations would continue to sit on their hands until they grow numb. In the past few months, we’ve seen officials from different central banks express “cautious-optimism”. Are those nervous smiles that I see?
Word on the street is that they will be focusing on the climate financing issue, as the ‘richer’ economies (like the G7) want emerging nations like Brazil, India and China to pay more towards future costs associated with climate change. With this in mind, I don’t think we’ll be hearing any talks about currency levels or the weakness of the dollar. We might just be in for another non-currency-event the next time the G20 party rolls around…