Manfred Wiebogen President ACI, The Financial Mark
Manfred Wiebogen President ACI, The Financial Mark

Currency War or simply country debts out of control?

'Sovereign downgrade could hit eurozone lenders' was a headline in the Financial Times which I recently read on my flight back from a Bucharest meeting with local traders and representatives from the BNR – the National Bank of Romania. Standard & Poor had warned in this edition that it was looking to downgrade fifteen Eurozone country’s sovereign debt! Having just re-rated 37 global banks a week ago, whereby seventeen of them subsequently became downgraded, this outlook was the next shock to the financial markets in particular to the Eurozone. Such announcements are certainly nurturing volatility in all market segments, including Foreign Exchange. But is there any reason or pattern behind them?

The past years disclosed those countries with more deficit than surplus. The UK and the US are known for borrowing from the rest of the world representing the deficit countries whilst it can be said that China, Japan, other Asian and emerging countries are known for the opposite. And what of the Eurozone? Well, in overall, figures show a balance between exports and imports within the zone. Germany and some others are known for running surplus, whilst countries mainly in the southern periphery like Spain and Greece run deficits.  Increasing exports A key element to regaining competitive advantage in an economic recovery is achieved by increasing exports. Austerity in deficit spending might not be that helpful, risking recession for economies. So, a competitive spiral develops as advantage seeking through weaker currencies starts up. China is often blamed for manipulating its currency through interventions and fixed rates, but others too have intervened using the option of looser monetary policy....continued

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