Although I poke gentle fun at Ambrose Evans-Pritchard's dour outlook:
Our old pal, The Telegraph's Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, writes on a continuum that ranges from morose to suicidal. Here he is at his despondent best...the guy has sources that other writers would kill for.
Our post on Thursday "Peoples Daily: "World needs to stay vigilant about active depreciation of the dollar'" combined with A E-P's latest are scary.
From the Telegraph:
Currency wars are necessary if all else fails
The overwhelming fact of the global currency system is that America needs a much weaker dollar to bring its economy back into kilter and avoid slow ruin, yet the rest of the world cannot easily handle the consequences of such a wrenching adjustment. There is not enough demand to go around.
Asian investment in plant has run ahead of Western ability to consume. The debt-strapped households of Middle America, or Britain and Spain, can no longer hold up the dysfunctional edifice. Asians must take over, or it will come down on their own heads.The countries actively intervening in exchange markets to suppress their currencies – China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, even Switzerland, to name a few – are all too often the same ones that have the biggest trade surpluses with the US.
They are taking active steps to prevent America extricating itself from the worst unemployment since the Great Depression, now 17.1pc on the latest U6 index and rising again.
Each country is doing so for understandable reasons: Japan to avoid a deflationary crisis, China to hold together a political order that is more fragile than it looks. In both these cases they are trapped because they clung too long to a mercantilist export strategy, failing to wean themselves off American demand when the going was good.
Yet this is an intolerable situation for the US. It should be no surprise that Washington has begun to retaliate in earnest, and not just by passing the Reform for Fair Trade Act in the House (not yet the Senate), clearing the way for punitive tariffs against currency manipulators.
The atomic bomb, of course, is quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve. America has in effect issued an ultimatum to China and G20: either you stop this predatory behaviour and agree to some formula for global rebalancing, or we will deploy QE2 `a l’outrance’ to flood your economies with excess liquidity. We will cause you to overheat and drive up your wage costs. We will impose a de facto currency revaluation by more brutal and disruptive means, and there is little you can do to stop it. Pick your poison.
This is what QE2 means, though Fed officials prefer to talk of their “mandate” of supporting employment. It is nothing like QE1, which was emergency action to halt the economic free-fall of late 2008 and early 2009. This time the Fed is using QE as a long-term tool to manage America’s chronic ailments....MORE