"Livid" Top Chinese Economists Call BOJ Decision "Monetary Blackmail", Demand "Currency War" Retaliation
The Chinese Central Bank has so far stoically endured the monthly injection of $85 billion in boiling hot money for the past seven months, lovingly delivered by the inhabitants of the Marriner Eccles building, even if it meant a proportionate hawkish response which has pushed the Shanghai Composite red for the year, and having to deal with a property market that is on the verge of another inflationary blow off top. But while the PBOC will grudgingly take this kind of monetary abuse from Bernanke, now that it has to deal with another de novo created $70+ billion in monthly central bank liquidity (poetically called Carry-O-QE by Deutsche's Jim Reid), this time coming from that loathed neighbor and one time invader across the East China Sea, China won't take it any more. As the SCMP reports, "Many of China's top economists are livid at what they view as an effective currency devaluation by Japan and are calling on the People's Bank of China to retaliate by weakening the yuan to defend itself in what they see as a new currency war."
Of course, calling on the PBOC to "do something about it" is one thing, and certainly China whose GDP is still extremely reliant on net exports for economic growth would like nothing more than to crush the CNY, boost its exports and hurt Japan in the process. However, if it does that, it will merely accelerate already rampant home price inflation, which in the aftermath of the recent chicken culling birdflu outbreak and what is already a scracity of pork meat after last year's corn drought, will then spread to food prices and lead to mass social instability (something Japan, and its docile, irradiated population apparently has little to worry about).
More from South China Morning Post:
These economists, including Tsinghua University professor Li Daokui and ANZ Bank's Liu Ligang, see Japan's plan to double its monetary base within two years as "blackmail" and have criticised the Japanese central bank's decision to open the liquidity floodgates to bump up the economy.
Liu said Japan's unprecedented easing programme, aimed at ending more than two decades of deflation, was "a monetary blackmail" targeted at other export-driven Asian countries such as China and that the central bank should sell more yuan and buy the US dollar to push down the yuan.
He also called on authorities to guard against a fresh wave of hot money into China's fragile financial markets, warning that Japan's move would reignite the so-called carry trade, under which investors borrow in low-interest yen and invest in high- interest markets.
"The massive monetary stimulus by the Japanese central bank could spell doom for other nations in the region," said Tsinghua's Li, a former adviser to the People's Bank of China.
All spot on, and all well-known in advance, but apparently all the brilliant minds in the world forget that trade is a zero-sum game, and that Japan's current account and trade surplus gain (if any, recall both hit record lows recently) facilitated by a plunging yen, will come at the expense of other very angry exporting nations. This also ignores what happens to Japanese import energy and food prices, already exploding as has been documented here previously. The BOJ's hope: companies will promptly hike wages to make up for rising staples costs. We hope the central banker often confused with a Yankees pitcher is not holding his breath on that one...
As for countries hating Japan's guts right now, China may have to wait in line: if there is one country that has to be truly livid at Japan it is South Korea, whose net exports account for nearly 60% of its GDP. So yes: the next currency war salvo will come most likely not from China, which is already caught between a rock and a hard place, but from Seoul, where the perfect storm of a totally nutjob neighbor to the north has emerged just in time for Japan to do everything in its power to crush its economy.
In conclusion, if there is one thing Japan has done, is to make sure all the overnight angst so carefully focused on Europe in 2011 and 2012 (and where it is pretty much game over now following news that "success-story" Portugal will pay public workers in bonds not in cash, all it takes is someone to put down the time of death) shift forward, with the attention now focused not on the 3 am European open, but on what promises to be a daily 8 pm Eastern JGB volatity explosion each and every day.
- advertisements -