News / Economy

IMF Meeting Stokes Fear of Currency War

Multimedia

Fears of a global currency war have increased after the meeting of finance leaders at the International Monetary Fund in Washington last week. Talk of trade imbalances and uneven growth due to artificially low currencies has already sparked discussions about possible intervention.  Analysts say it's an issue that's not likely to go away anytime soon. 

As nations emerge from the global downturn, it's becoming clear that some countries are recovering faster than others.

In its most recent outlook, the International Monetary Fund says growth in developed countries will remain sluggish - even as emerging economies, especially those in Asia, are booming.

Last week, World Bank President Robert Zoellick warned that uneven growth is causing friction.

"We see this now in debates on currencies: developed countries are easing monetary policies; some developing countries are tightening in response to growth; some surplus countries are intervening to lower the value of their currencies to boost exports," he said. "And all this is causing international tensions."

The failure of finance ministers to come up with solutions last week in Washington has only deepened the divide. IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

"Many are talking about a currency war," he said. "Myself, I think I use this vocabulary which may be a bit too military. But it's true to say that many do consider their currency as a weapon and that's certainly not for the good of the global economy."

The US, for example, blames China's undervalued currency for contributing to the massive trade imbalance between the two.  

And countries such as Japan and Brazil have threatened to devalue their currencies to gain a competitive edge in exports.

Economist Toby Nandle says it's a big problem with no easy solutions.

"This is not a problem that can be delegated to an international organization such as the IMF," he said. "It's a problem that needs to be addressed by heads of state and by finance ministers because the resolution of said problem has profound affects on different economies."

Among them, China.  

Beijing has pledged greater flexibility in determining the value of the yuan. But Chinese premier Wen Jiabao says it will not happen overnight.

"Without this stability of the RMB exchange rate, there would be no stability for businesses, for employment, for our people, and also, if China has social and economic problems, it would be a disaster for the world," he said.

Experts say currency disputes have already jumped to the top of the queue as world leaders prepare for the G-20 summit in South Korea.  Barring a resolution, Nandle says the warning from Brazil could become reality.

"If there is no agreement by November 12th as to the global disconnect, I think that Guido Mantego [Brazil's Finance Minister] hit the nail on the head - we have a global currency war underway," he said.

Governments can devalue their currencies in different ways - from giving their central banks the ability to set margins on exchange rates to buying up foreign currencies to lower demand for their own.  

Economists say the resulting fluctuations would have serious implications for trade, causing nations to demand additional tariffs, and even blockades, against cheap imports.  

Such laws would hurt trade, further delaying a global recovery.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7893
JPY
USD
107.68
GBP
USD
0.6238
CAD
USD
1.1214
INR
USD
61.185

Rates may not be current.