Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Squeezing monetary policy

Nothing unusual in politicians seeking to pull the levers of supposedly independent monetary policy with some public comments and a coming election in mind.  Question is, in the midst of a currency war with central bankers from Japan, Cyprus, Europe, UK and US all feeling the politcal heat to abandon orthodoxy and print, will Julia begin a trend of greater pressure on the RBA?

...Prime Minister Julia Gillard says that the federal government’s ‘‘tight’’ fiscal stance leaves room for the central bank to cut interest rates as manufacturers try to cope with sustained currency strength....
...‘‘Our success as a resources economy, as an economy that’s emerged from the global financial crisis strong, has meant that our Australian dollar has been very high,’’ Ms Gillard said hours after meeting with business leaders advising the government on its 2014 presidency of the Group of 20 nations..... (here)
As has been posted, Garnaut and others have discounted the comfort such statements and assumptions propagate - the Asian mining boom is ending and income and growth will drop but FTAlphaville noted another reason why this is dangerous:
Hot Money
It turns out Australia is being funded by non-conventional sources, with the implication being it is "hot" and can be withdrawn very quickly in a crisis (and quick hot money withdrawal means currency crisis and/or collapse):

...At face value, given the share of foreign companies involved, the analysis implies that around half of the investment during the boom has been funded from offshore. However, the actual use of foreign sources of funds is much higher than that. This is because wherever companies are partly foreign owned, funding from internal sources is equivalent to partial funding from foreign sources. Consequently, since the Australian listed resources sector is around three-quarters foreign owned, the same large proportion of internal funding is attributable to foreign sources.... Taking all this together suggests that around four-fifths of the investment funding has been sourced from offshore (here).

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