While most of y’all were out celebrating the long weekend or watching “The Social Network,” our buddies over at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were working hard. Unfortunately, all their hard work seems to have ended up for naught, as they got side tracked once again by the growing tension between the U.S. and China.
The center of it all? Why, the value of the yuan of course!
Once again, the U.S. “subtly” brought up the topic of the yuan, as it said that currency manipulation can threaten the global economic recovery. China shot back by saying that economies who were implementing loose monetary policies via excessive monetary stimulus were destabilizing capital flows.
Hmm, I wonder who they were talking about…
Meanwhile, this riff between China and U.S. started pissing off other emerging economies like Brazil. In fact, Brazil’s finance minister Guido Mantega spoke up and labeled the U.S.-China tussle as a currency war!
Amid all the tension, IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was able to shush the finance ministers with his proposal to increase the lending authority’s overseeing powers. In essence, the IMF will put on a striped shirt and play the global referee by whistling foul to countries with domestic policies that have negative spillover effects on others.
Everyone agreed to the proposal but doubts about its efficiency remain. It is because other than reviewing and conducting five spillover reports over the next year on the U.S., U.K., euro zone, Japan and China, the IMF’s plan is still pretty blank.
There were also talks about giving developing economies louder voices in the Fund’s executive board. U.S. officials and Straus-Kahn seemed indifferent despite China and Brazil’s pleases with cherries on top by answering them with the Spiderman mantra:
“With great power, comes great responsibility.”
Too bad for the developing duo, no clear progress was made on their request. Tsk, tsk.
Because of that, many believe that the IMF meeting was unable to successfully address the issues on the table. According to Domenico Lombardi, one of the economic gurus in the summit, the meeting was a huge letdown as the ministers acknowledged that they made zero progress on a number of issues.
No progress? At all?! Well, it looks like Mr. Lombardi wasn’t exaggerating since there’s still no resolution on the exchange rates debate and they didn’t come up with any concrete plans to conduct their spillover study.
Since the meetings didn’t result in anything conclusive, it’ll be business as usual for the currency market. That means the Greenback selloff is likely to continue despite calls, mostly from Europe, for a strong dollar policy. Besides, the IMF made it clear that it won’t meddle with domestic monetary policies, such as further quantitative easing from the Fed or another round of intervention by the BOJ.
While it looks like we’ll be sticking with the status quo for now, it doesn’t mean that it’ll stay that way for long. According to our trusty economic calendar, the G20 summit is scheduled next month and that’ll be a fresh chance for our favorite finance moguls to discuss the fate of the global economy. Watch out for that!