Fed May Cause Next Crisis, Hong Kong’s Tsang Suggests

Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by S2007S, Nov 13, 2009.

  1. S2007S


    I guess the many people who are cheering for these 0% interest rates and money printing ways are excited today, but as Tsang suggests the next crisis may be brought on by the fed and its ways to prop up the economy is 100% right.

    Fed May Cause Next Crisis, Hong Kong’s Tsang Suggests (Update2)

    By Christopher Anstey and Michael Dwyer

    Nov. 13 (Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve’s policy of keeping interest rates near zero is fueling a wave of speculative capital that may cause the next global crisis, Hong Kong’s leader said.

    “I’m scared and leaders should look out,” said Donald Tsang, chief executive of the city, said in Singapore today. “America is doing exactly what Japan did last time,” he said, adding that Japan’s zero interest rate policy contributed to the 1997 Asian financial crisis and U.S. mortgage meltdown.

    Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, a scholar of the Great Depression, has overseen a record injection of liquidity into the world’s largest economy, pledging not to make the mistake of the 1930s, when officials tightened policy. Tsang’s warning contrasts with pledges by the Group of 20 nations that represent the world’s biggest economies to keep stimulus measures in place.

    “We have a U.S. dollar carry trade at the moment,” Tsang, 65, said in a speech where leaders of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum are gathering for a weekend summit. The carry trade is where investors borrow cheaply in one currency and use the funds to invest in other currencies.

    “Where is the money going -- it’s where the problem’s going to be: Asia,” Tsang said. “You can see asset prices going up, not only in Korea, in Taiwan, in Singapore and in Hong Kong, going up to levels that are incompatible or inconsistent with the economic fundamentals.”

    Past Experience

    Tsang was Hong Kong’s financial secretary during the 1997- 98 Asian crisis, when countries from South Korea to Indonesia were forced to borrow from the International Monetary Fund because of an investor exodus sparked by concerns officials couldn’t maintain the value of their currencies. Together with Hong Kong Monetary Authority chief Joseph Yam, he intervened to buy $15 billion of Hong Kong stock, successfully defending the territory’s exchange-rate peg to the dollar.

    Hong Kong’s interest rates track those of the U.S. because of the currency’s peg to the dollar, which means that foreign capital flows into stocks and property. Real estate prices in the city have risen more than 25 percent this year, prompting the International Monetary Fund to warn this month of a possible bubble. Hong Kong Financial Secretary John Tsang said Nov. 4 the government was “very concerned” about the rise.

    Some academics and economists say Asian policy makers should do more to stave off asset bubbles.

    ‘Serious Risk’

    “Asia’s bubbles now pose a serious risk to financial stability,” said Barry Eichengreen, professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley in an article published today on Eurointelligence.com. This is “a task for emerging market central banks, not for the Fed or the European Central Bank.”

    Tsang’s warning may nevertheless strike a chord elsewhere in Asia, where inflows of capital threaten to create bubbles.

    World Bank President Robert Zoellick, also in Singapore for APEC, said that while Asian countries do face some risk of asset prices climbing, it’s up to the region’s officials to act.

    “Given liquidity in the international marketplace and given the pace of recovery in East Asia, you could start to see some asset bubbles,” Zoellick said in a Bloomberg Television interview yesterday. “There will be a need here, unlike you might have in Europe and North America” to look at actions such as Australia’s rate boost this month, he said.

    Dollar Holdingss

    Asian central banks this year have increased holdings of U.S. dollar assets, including Treasuries, to keep their currencies from rising and thus making exports more expensive relative to China’s. While China’s holdings of U.S. Treasuries rose 10 percent this year, Japan’s increased 16 percent and those in the rest of Asia by 25 percent, Bloomberg data show.

    The U.S. currency has tumbled 14 percent since the beginning of March, according to the Fed’s trade-weighted major currency index. The dollar has been hurt by a global recovery that has reduced investor appetite for the currency as a haven, and by expectations for the Fed to keep its main rate near a record low into 2010.

    “There are indications that the U.S. dollar is now serving as the funding currency for carry trades,” the IMF said in a report last week. “These trades may be contributing to upward pressure on the euro and some emerging-economy currencies.”

    Fed policy makers last week reiterated their pledge to keep borrowing costs “exceptionally low” for an “extended period” to aid the U.S. recovery. APEC finance ministers, in a joint statement yesterday, committed to maintain stimulus efforts “until a durable recovery in private demand is secured.”

    Strong Dollar

    “We definitely want a strong dollar,” France’s Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said in Singapore today.

    U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner reiterated his commitment to a strong dollar policy on a trip to Asia this week.

    “It’s very important to the United States, to the economic health of the United States, that we maintain a strong dollar,” Geithner told reporters in Tokyo Nov. 11. After meeting with his APEC finance minister counterparts yesterday in Singapore, he said “we bear a special responsibility” because of the U.S. economy’s global role.

  2. ...............................

    1000% correct.......

    This is easy.....

    The Fed enforces a 0% rate.....and thus forces the overpricing of risk in general....

    This is a given....
  3. Mvic


  4. Donald tsang is very astute. HKG is in safe hands