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Posts Tagged ‘capital flows’

Emerging Markets Learned Their Lesson

Posted by Larry Doyle on October 27th, 2009 9:50 AM |

Are emerging markets now the teacher instead of the student? As such, are recent developments in select emerging markets signaling a turn in our markets? Let’s look closer and navigate this corner of our global economic landscape.

Recall that the global market turmoil of 1998 was precipitated by the devaluation of the Russian ruble. As that domino fell, global markets and economies reacted violently. Here in the United States, the meltdown in the broad market caused the failure of the hedge fund Long Term Capital Management. In hindsight, many believe the Fed-orchestrated takeover of LTCM by Wall Street banks set the table for the massive increase in leverage on Wall Street which led to the current crisis. However, what were the lessons learned in the emerging markets from the 1998 crisis?

Many emerging markets were effectively forced to take support from the IMF as a result of the 1998 economic meltdown. The IMF support came with many strings attached. Those strings were tied to strict controls and onerous burdens imposed on many emerging market governments. Having been forced to live under these burdens once, these governments do not want a visit from the IMF again. As such, they have done a much better job at getting their fiscal houses in order and keeping them in order. Many other governments primarily in the Western hemisphere, including the United States, should have done the same.

How is this playing out currently? (more…)

Dollar Devaluation Is a Dangerous Game

Posted by Larry Doyle on October 8th, 2009 9:24 AM |

Can we ‘devalue’ our way back to our days of economic ‘wine and roses?’

Many debt-laden countries throughout economic history have chosen to implicitly or explicitly pursue a devaluation of their currency as a means of improving their economies. Are the ‘wizards in Washington’ taking this approach? Aside from a few perfunctory comments in defense of the greenback, Washington has been largely silent on the topic of the declining value of the dollar. Many believe Washington very much favors a weaker currency as a means of supporting our economy. I believe this of Washington, as well. Let’s navigate.

Going back to the G20 in London last Spring, the Obama administration has attempted to curry political favor with emerging economies, especially the BRIC nations, by ceding dollar sovereigncy as the preeminent international reserve currency in return for support of global economic stimulus programs. Why does Washington believe a weak currency serves our economic interests? A weak currency generates and supports the following:

1. Promotes inflation as imports decline. Washington would like some inflation, given the massive deflationary pressures presented by falling wages and declines in the value of commercial and residential real estate.

2. Promotes exports for corporations with a multi-national presence.

3. Supports labor by making it more attractive for companies to keep jobs here as opposed to opening factories or sending work overseas.

So, in light of our current economic crisis, why wouldn’t we want a substantially cheaper dollar to maximize these benefits?

Recall that economists always need to keep certain variables static in order to study the impact of a change in another variable or multiple variables. This approach, known as ‘ceteris paribus,’ is not quite as easy as some may think. Why? Variables are NEVER static, or ‘ceteris is NEVER paribus.’ (more…)






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