Forex Blog: Currency Trading News & Analysis.

October 3rd 2009

G7 Ditches Currency Communique

The semiannual meetings of the “G” countries – whether the G7, G8, G20, etc. – are always closely monitored by currency analysts. Especially close attention is paid to the official communique, which often includes an assessment of current exchange rates.

The communique is rarely so straightforward as to indicate if, when, and where the Gs will intervene. Nonetheless, it is often full of intimations, and analysts often spend days parsing its rhetoric for clues. During this period, it’s not uncommon for the forex markets to witness increased volatility, as investors try to come to consensus about what to expect in the months following the meeting. This is because unlike Central Banks, which often face difficulties in unilaterally trying to influence their currencies, the G7 is usually able to achieve its desired goal: “A study last year by ECB economist Marcel Fratzcher found the G7 was successful in moving within a year currencies on 80 per cent of the 29 occasions it tried to do so since 1975.”

However, the current meeting, which is being held in Instanbul, Turkey,may break from this tradition. It’s not clear exactly what motivated the (potential) decision not to release a communique, which has been an important policy tool for the last three decades. Perhaps, policymakers have realized that their are other, better forums to discuss currency issues, namely the G20, which met last week in Pittsburgh, USA.

The timing of the decision is somewhat odd, given that exchange rate and other economic imbalances are proliferating. In fact, in press conferences held before and after the official G7 meetings, policymakers and Central Bankers have been forthcoming about such imbalances. Jim Flaherty, Finance Minister of Canada, sounded off on the RMB, which has stalled in its appreciation for over a year: “They (China) have a position that they are relaxing their currency, relaxing the restrictions on their currency gradually over time,” he said. Meanwhile, ECB Governor Jean-Claude Trichet voiced concerns about the Dollar, which has slide 15% against the Euro so far this year.

Ironically given the G7’s refusal to act, there is actually a strong conensus that the Dollar’s slide is generally bad for the global economy, especially in the context of the nascent recovery. A cheaper Dollar not only affects the export competitiveness of countries in Asia, but is also partially responsible for surging commodity prices. There is also a general belief that volatile (perhaps unstable is a better word) exchange rates are not conducive to economic and financial stability.

At this point, it doesn’t seem likely that either the G7 or the G20 will take the extreme step of intervening on behalf of the Dollar, which remains well below the record lows of 2008. If the Buck continues to slide, however, especially to the point where its role as global reserve currency is in jeopardy…well…that is a different story, and fodder for next year’s meetings, which will be held in Canada. Then again, it may be taken up by the G4, a still-hypothetical group which would consist of the US, China, Japan, and a representative from the EU. It is alos the intended subject of my next post…stay tuned!

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2 Comments of “G7 Ditches Currency Communique”

  1. trader Says:

    Dollar’s slide is generally bad for the global economy, especially in the context of the nascent recovery.

  2. Dollar’s Role as Reserve Currency in Jeopardy | Forex Blog Says:

    […] Archives « G7 Ditches Currency Communique | Home […]

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