Tags: G20 | policymakers | easy | money

WSJ Editorial: G20 Nations Content with Easy Money

Wednesday, 20 Feb 2013 12:36 PM

By Dan Weil

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While the Group of 20 (G20) nations promised in their meeting over the weekend to “refrain from competitive [currency] devaluation,” that means little, according to a Wall Street Journal editorial.

The G20 communique offered a message that “countries can continue to devalue their currencies so long as they don't explicitly say they want to devalue their currencies,” Journal editors write.

“This contradiction between economic word and deed shows the degree to which policymakers have defaulted to easy money as the engine of growth. The rest is commentary.”

Editor's Note: This ‘Third War’ Will Be the Most Destructive in History, Warns Pentagon Adviser

In the communique, the countries pledged “to move more rapidly toward more market-determined exchange rate systems and exchange rate flexibility to reflect underlying fundamentals, and avoid persistent exchange rate misalignments and in this regard, work more closely with one another so we can grow together.”

But that simply gives countries license to devalue their currencies, according to the editorial. “So Japan can do what it wants on the yen as long as it doesn't cop to it publicly.”

The Journal editors excoriate Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke for stating that the Fed will continue to deploy "domestic policy tools to advance domestic objectives."

“When the chief central banker of the world's reserve currency nation announces that he is practicing monetary nationalism, it's hard to blame anyone else for doing the same,” they write.

“This default to monetary policy reflects the overall failure of most of the world’s leading economies to pass fiscal and other pro-growth reforms,” the editorial states.

“So the central bankers are running the world economy, with the encouragement of politicians who are happy to see stock markets and other asset prices continue to rise. Here and there someone will point out the danger of asset bubbles if this continues — ECB President Mario Draghi did it on Monday — but no one wants to be the first to take away the punchbowl.

“It’s still every central bank, and every currency, for itself.”

David Rosenberg, chief economist at Gluskin Sheff, appears to agree with The Journal’s editors.

“The G20 meeting was predictably a waste of time and ended up doing little to quash concerns over emerging currency wars,” he tells The Globe and Mail of Toronto.

“The yen and even sterling took their cues from the ‘nudge-nudge, wink-wink’ approach to foreign exchange manipulations.” Those two currencies fell Monday.

Editor's Note: This ‘Third War’ Will Be the Most Destructive in History, Warns Pentagon Adviser

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