G20 pledges to avoid weakening currencies to boost exports and to let markets increasingly set foreign exchange values, after the weekend summit. The risk of a of currency war seems to have abated somewhat, and the USD is now at a 15-year low.
“The terms on currency policy are relatively vague and may be interpreted differently by each country. It remains to be seen whether actual practises will be changed.”
As expected, currencies were discussed at the G20 meeting over the weekend. The finance ministers of the group now pledges to avoid further weakening of currencies, to boost exports and to let markets increasingly set foreign exchange values. This could be interesting…
First of all; there was no decision on the US proposal for current account targets, and this debate will be continued at next months G20 meeting in Seoul.
And second; the terms on currency policy are relatively vague and may be interpreted differently by each country. It remains to be seen whether actual practises will be changed.
Previously this has been avoided in fear of alienating China, she points out.
USD At 15-Year Low
The USD weakened after the G20 meeting, as the risk of tensions in the currency market has abated, according to DnB NOR Markets.
“The dollar has, among others, weakened versus Asian currencies on the prospect nations in the region will refrain from intervening in foreign exchange markets,” Ms. Viland writes.
Expectations of the Federal Reserve announcing another round of quantitative easing next week also helps in bringing the dollar down.
Another currency which has weakened over the weekend is the Swiss franc.
“The currency is normally seen as a safe haven in the currency market and the weakening may be a result of lower risk of a currency war,” the Norwegian analyst says.
Biggest Strauss Kahn Statement – Ever?
The G20 financial leaders also decided that Europe will surrender two seats in the IMF’s executive board to emerging nations, like China, India and Brazil with the intent to give these countries more power.
IMF-chief Dominique Strauss Kahn said that this was the “biggest IMF reform ever.”
Mr. Strauss Kahn is about to get a reputation for distributing pompous – and not very well founded – statements.
See also: In The Brigh Minds Of IMF
German Economy Still Flying
The German IFO index rose from 106.8 in September to 107.6 in October.
This is the highest outcome since May 2007, and better than consensus’ estimate of 106.5 and the outcome signals solid growth for the locomotive of European economy.
However, it is worth noting that this month’s improvement was not only due to better current conditions, but also due to a rise in business expectations.
“The latest developments in the German economy have been positive. However, we do not expect this to last. Due to sluggish international growth and a strong euro, growth will abate going forward. Fiscal tightening will also weigh on German growth,” Camilla Viland at DnB NOR Markets writes.
And Now; The
From the US, figures for existing home sales in September will be released Monday.
The Pending home sales index, which is an indicator for actual home sales, has risen over the last two months.
And we may see a rise in existing home sales this month, too. (Consensus expects 4.3 million houses to have been sold in September, up from 4.1 million sales in August.)
“Such an outcome is positive. Nevertheless, the levels of monthly house sales are very low seen in a historical context,” Camilla Viland notes.
And yet to come; the impact of the foreclosure scandal…
Here in Scandinavia several important events are on the agenda this week.
In the Norwegian, Norges Bank‘s interest rate meeting and the release of a new monetary policy report, will probably get most attention.
“Both we and consensus expect the interest rate to be left on hold at this meeting,” Ms. Viland writes.
In fact, a survey by the financial news agency, TDN Finans, shows that out of 17 participating analysts, no one expects the Norwegian Central Bank to rise its key rate.
(But wouldn’t it be fun if governor Svein Gjedrem pulled one last stunt before he retires in December?)
Anyway – the central banks new interest rate path (a prediction of the key rate level going forward) will probably be the most interesting thing for Mr. Gjedrem & Co.
The interest path rate has been lowered a few times already this year, and the interest rate is currently set to be raised around New Year.
“Given the latest developments we do not see this as likely. Foreign swap rates have fallen markedly since the previous report was released in June and inflation has been lower than anticipated. This indicates that the interest rate path will be lowered,” DnB NOR Markets says.
Adding: “We expect that the new interest rate path will indicate that the next rate hike will not be until March or May 2011.”
Also the Swedish Riksbank meets this week, holding their monetary policy meeting on Tuesday.
“The Swedish economy has performed strongly lately and this is one reason why the Riksbank has raises rates by 50 bps since the bottom. The Riksbank has signalled that more is to come and both we and consensus expect them to raise the interest rate by 25 basis points, to 1.00%, at tomorrows meeting,” the Norwegian money market specialist says.
More from DnB NOR Markets:
Select Your Language:
- G-20 to Avoid ‘Competitive Devaluation’ of Currencies (businessweek.com)
- IMF’s Strauss-Kahn warns of a currency war: FT (marketwatch.com)
- FX COLUMN-Asian currencies to bask in G20 bonhomie (reuters.com)
- At G-20, Talk Forestalls War (online.wsj.com)
- “As Dollar Declines, Currency Conflicts Rise” and related posts (globaleconomy.foreignpolicyblogs.com)
- G-20 Seeks to Defuse Tension With Devaluation Pledge (businessweek.com)