Shots Fired in Worldwide Currency War

Friday, 23 Sep 2011 04:11 PM

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Enough shots are being fired in currency wars that governments and central banks are already intervening, trying to stop their own currencies from flagging in the wake of a mad scramble for U.S. dollars, especially in export-driven Asia.

 

"This is about trying to contain emerging-market currency depreciation pressures," Benoit Anne, head of emerging market strategy at Societe Generale, told The Wall Street Journal. "What we have seen over the past few days is a number of central banks stepping in, with a view to smoothing foreign-exchange volatility."

 

Investors dashing to U.S. dollars have put currencies in Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Africa under intense selling pressure. Central banks across the developing world are buying local currencies to protect against the biggest selloff in emerging-market assets since the demise of Lehman Brothers three years ago.

 

Because sudden currency weaknesses can fuel inflation by raising the cost of imported goods and raise the cost of repaying debts denominated in foreign currencies, central banks — including those in South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, India, the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan — are suspected of recent interventions designed to protect their own currencies.

 

Gold prices have dropped as the dollar has become stronger.

 

“Gold has been great profit-making commodity, but it is not a currency despite what some others might claim,” a fund manager told FXStreet.com. “At the end of the day, the dollars are what are needed to pay the bills. You buy gold because it's in the midst of a 10-year bull run, not to go down to the grocery to buy cantaloupes."

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