Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.Stock Market Crash and Recession Indicator Warning: Extreme Danger Ahead - Harry_Dent
2. Is This How World War III Begins, In Almost Complete Silence? - Jeff_Berwick
3.Trump Wins 2nd Presidential Debate, Betfair Betting Markets Odds Bounce - Nadeem_Walayat
4.Why Krugman, Roubini, Rogoff And Buffett Dislike Gold - GoldCore
5.End of SPX Stock Market Correction Nears - Tony_Caldaro
6.Get Ready for the Future - Exponential Machine Intelligence Mega-trend towards Singularity - Nadeem_Walayat
7.US Housing Market Bubble II – It’s Happening Again! - Andy_Sutton
8.FTSE BrExit Stock Market Panic Crash Resolves towards New All Time Highs - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Can Trump Still Win Despite Opinion Polls, Bookmakers and Pundits all Saying Hillary has Won? - Nadeem_Walayat
10.Gold’s, Miners’ Stops Run - Zeal_LLC
Last 7 days
Stock Market Investment Success Through the “Investment Rule of 72” - 21st Oct 16
The Final Bottom in Gold - WHEN - 21st Oct 16
Gold Green Lights Upleg - 21st Oct 16
Demand for US Mints Silver Eagles has ‘Returned with a Vengeance’ - 21st Oct 16
Central Bankers Can't Stop The Death Blow Of The Post US Election Recession - 21st Oct 16
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Golden Opportunity for Frontier Asia - 21st Oct 16
Have You Taken These 4 Simple Steps to Improve Your Trading? - 21st Oct 16
The Stock Market is an Accident Waiting to Happen - 20th Oct 16
It's Rally Time for Gold and Silver Equities - 20th Oct 16
Cashless Society – Risks Posed By The War On Cash - 20th Oct 16
China's Insanely Leveraged Housing Market Will Enter Its Secular Bull Market In 2017 - 20th Oct 16
Donald Trump Bounces Going into 3rd and Final US Presidential Election Debate - 20th Oct 16
Attention Please: Phase Two of the Gold and Silver Train Now leaving the Station. All Aboard? - 19th Oct 16
How to Successfully Trade a Stock Market Crash - Black Monday October 19th 1987 - 19th Oct 16
Tesla, Apple and Uber Push Lithium Prices Even Higher - 18th Oct 16
Silver, Debt, and Deficits – From an Election Year Perspective - 18th Oct 16
UK Property Market: Slow Growth Does Not Equate To Decline - 18th Oct 16
Trump Election Victory is in Your Power - 18th Oct 16
Stock Market More to Come! - 18th Oct 16
This Past Week in Gold and Silver - 17th Oct 16
A Falling Stock Market Cannot Be Allowed - Financial Repression Is Now “In-Play”! - 17th Oct 16
Commodities, Forex and Stock Market Trend Forecasts - 17th Oct 16
Stock Market Crash..or No Crash? - 17th Oct 16
A perspective on risk rally – Risks abound but Stock Market is Confident - 17th Oct 16
Bank of England Blames Brexit for Sterling Drop Inflation, Masks QE Money Printing Cause - 17th Oct 16
From Piety to Pride to Pity, America's Racial Divide - 17th Oct 16
Is Obama Juicing US Government Spending To Get Hillary Clinton Elected? - 16th Oct 16
Seek Your Independence: Anything Else Will Destroy You - 16th Oct 16
SNL - US Presidential Debates, 1st, 2nd, VP - Like You've Never Seen them Before! - 16th Oct 16
End of Economic Growth Sparks Wide Discontent - 16th Oct 16
Donald Trump on Life Support, May Abandon Election Campaign and War on Republican Party - 15th Oct 16
The Gold Manipulators Not Only Will Be Punished, They Have Been Punished - 15th Oct 16
Black Votes Matter - Is the US on the Verge of Mass Race Riots? - 15th Oct 16
Gold Stocks Screaming Buy - 14th Oct 16
Brace Yourself for the Quadrillion-Dollar Reckoning - 14th Oct 16
The Next Recession Will Blow Out the Budget - 14th Oct 16
John Mauldin: My Infrastructure Plan to Save the US Economy - 14th Oct 16
World War III On The Brink: War Will Continue Until It Triggers Economic Collapse - 14th Oct 16
US T-Bill Rejection At Ports In Progress - 14th Oct 16
These 2 Debt Instruments Pose Peril to Millions of Investors - 14th Oct 16
China’s Rocketing Housing Market Real Estate Bubble - 14th Oct 16
DIY Winter Home Maintenance Money Saving 22 Point Checklist to Get Ready for Winter/Fall - 14th Oct 16
US Stock Market, Big Picture View - 13th Oct 16
Stock Buybacks Main Force Driving Bull Market; Rewards Investors and Starves Innovation - 13th Oct 16
SPX Gapping Down... - 13th Oct 16
Syria - Obama Stepped Back From Brink, Will Hillary? - 13th Oct 16
The Structure and Future of Gold in the Investment and Monetary World - 13th Oct 16
Can Trump Still Win Despite Opinion Polls, Bookmakers and Pundits all Saying Hillary has Won? - 12th Oct 16
Gold and Crude Oil - General Stock Market Links - 12th Oct 16
Samsung's Galaxy Battery Just The Tip Of The Iceberg - 12th Oct 16
Hillary: Deceit, Debt, Delusions (Part Two) - 12th Oct 16
Gold and Silver Metals Show Strength Relative to the USD Index - 12th Oct 16
Announcing Trader Education Week -- a Free Event to Help You Learn to Spot Trading Opportunities - 12th Oct 16
Confirmed Stock Market Sell Signals - 11th Oct 16
Hillary Deceit, Debt, Delusions - 11th Oct 16
Trump Support Crashes to New Low of 6.4 on Betfair Odds Betting Market - 11th Oct 16
The World Is Turning Dangerously Insular - 11th Oct 16
An American Tragedy: Trump Won Big - 11th Oct 16

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

LEARN to Trade

How to Make a Fortune If the Currency Wars Go Atomic

Currencies / Fiat Currency Feb 25, 2013 - 12:16 PM GMT

By: Money_Morning


Shah Gilani writes: There's a lot of talk about currency wars these days, but very little understanding about what that means for specific countries, economic growth, inflation, and your pocketbook.

Let's fix that.

First of all, there has been no declaration of any currency war. And there likely won't be.

That's because open currency warfare could quickly lead to a mushrooming global crisis.

But that doesn't mean countries aren't already engaged in currency battles; they are. They almost always are.

Here's an over-simplified explanation about how currency wars affect you.

What You Need To Know About Currencies
If Japan exports cars to America and America exports grain to Japan, each has to pay the other. American grain exporters want to get paid in dollars, so they can spend those dollars in the U.S. The Japanese want to get paid in yen so they can pay their workers in yen, pay their taxes in yen, and spend their money in Japan.

Americans (in this example it wouldn't be you, but the cars importers) can "buy" yen with their dollars to pay the Japanese for their cars, or the Japanese can accept dollars as payment and then use those dollars to buy yen themselves.

Of course it works the other way around if you're a grain farmer selling to Japan.

But the value of yen to dollars, or dollars to yen, isn't constant. There is no set exchange rate. Exchange rates are set in open currency trading markets where currencies are bought and sold to the tune of several trillions of dollars a day, every day. One day a dollar might buy 100 yen and the next day it might buy only 98 yen, or it could buy 102 yen.

Lots of factors determine exchange rates, but the biggest, by far, is interest rates. I'll get to that, and then you'll understand the whole currency thing, and never forget it.

Currency wars, which are waged all the time, but not dramatically, are all about the value of your "home" currency relative to other countries' currencies. Our home currency in America is the U.S. dollar, in Japan it's the yen, in the 17-nation euro-currency bloc it's the euro, in Great Britain it's the pound, and so on.

Countries that export a lot of goods want their currency to be "cheap" relative to other countries, especially those countries who are buying the home countries' exported goods.

If the value of American dollars to Japanese yen is strong, meaning a dollar can buy a lot of yen, when you buy a Japanese car, for example, it will take fewer dollars to pay for it.
If the value of the yen goes up relative to the dollar, that car is going to cost more because your dollars don't buy as many yen as they did before.

Currency exchange rates have nothing to do with what kind of car you are buying from Japan or what features it has; the currency "cost" is a separate component of the cost of that car. That's true for all products imported and exported around the world.

Because Japan exports a lot of cars, not just to America, but around the world, it wants its currency to be "cheaper" than other currencies so it doesn't take as many dollars, or euros, or pounds to buy a Japanese car, or any product exported from Japan.

Here's the problem. America is a huge exporter of goods and services, too. So is Germany, and of course so is China. From a political perspective, all governments want to support their exporting industries. It's about manufacturing and jobs, and revenue and profits, and economic growth and standards of living.

The easiest way to facilitate an export-driven economy, like Japan's, like China's, like Germany's, and like America's (especially lately as domestic demand in the U.S. has softened as a result of the Great Recession) is to keep the home currency "cheap" relative to other currencies.

If exporting countries, especially those that don't have big domestic demand bases, meaning less-developed and "emerging-markets" economies, are all trying to export their way to growth (as is the U.S.) and they all want to have their currencies be "cheap" on a relative basis, that can't happen. Everyone's currency can't be cheap at the same time.

That's what precipitates currency wars. Governments who want to stimulate growth through exports (and who doesn't?) usually subtly, but sometimes overtly, take measures to lower the value of their currencies.

Japan's new Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, in an unusual exception to the pacifist approach to currency skirmishes, recently fired a shot heard round the world. To lower the value of the yen, Abe is demanding domestic monetary easing, aggressive stimulus, and more dangerously, has openly been talking down the yen.

While Abe's bold-faced rhetoric is provocative, G20 finance ministers and Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF, have been calmly trying to defuse any mounting tensions that could trigger any country-specific retaliation and a global race to devalue currencies.

Is Japan to blame? No. America really started the latest round of currency battles.

In order to "stimulate" our way out of the Great Recession, which included President Obama's articulated policy of dramatically increasing America's exports, the Federal Reserve, in conjunction with the Administration's wishes and its own interest in re-capitalizing the nation's big banks the Fed is beholden to, has kept interest rates low, as in very low.

One of the ways the Fed has done this is by "printing" money. The Fed has the ability, beyond the reach of Congress or the President, to buy what it wants, which is most often U.S. Treasury government bonds (that pay interest). It pays for what it buys by simply issuing "credits" as payment.

Those credits are turned into money as they are spent by the government whose bonds the Fed buys, or by banks who sell the Fed (on a temporary basis, with the intention of buying them back in the future, usually) their underwater mortgage-backed securities. Thus, the banks supposedly have money to lend.

Here's Where It All Comes Together
Because the Fed has kept interest rates so low in America, investors who want more interest income on their money than they get here are parking their money in other countries where interest rates are higher. In order to put your money into a bank in another country that offers higher interest rates than banks offer in the U.S. you have to first buy that country's currency. And that bids up that country's currency relative to the dollars that you are selling.

In addition to the dollar being weakened, on a relative value basis, by investors selling dollars to buy and invest in other countries currencies, the amount of money being printed by the Fed means that at some point in the future all that money in the system will cause prices to rise.

Inflation is the result of a lot of excess paper money chasing a set amount of goods and services.

Inflation, and just the prospect of inflation, causes the dollar to fall further. And if the dollar is falling relative to the Japanese yen or the euro, other countries who want to grow their exports are going to eventually do what they have to in order to lower the value of their own currencies.

That's how we get into currency wars.

The net result is inflation, which arrives in several different ways.

You'll know when it's starting to spread. Interest rates will start to rise; watch the yield on the U.S. 10-year treasury. Commodity prices will rise; you'll see it in your grocery bills. You may already be seeing the incipient signs.

Stocks will rise at first -- then start to collapse. So, make sure you're in the market but keep raising your protective stops as prices rise.

Buy commodities and gold, but take profits on your commodities as they skyrocket; they won't stay high forever.

Don't pay off your mortgage, make the minimum payments. You can pay it off later with cheaper dollars.

Accumulate as much cash as you can, and when prices crash -- which will include real estate -- be ready to buy, buy, buy.

That's how to turn an atomic implosion that could result from currency wars into a personal fortune.

Source :

Money Morning/The Money Map Report

©2013 Monument Street Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. Any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the world wide web), of content from this website, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Monument Street Publishing. 105 West Monument Street, Baltimore MD 21201, Email:

Disclaimer: Nothing published by Money Morning should be considered personalized investment advice. Although our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized investent advice. We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security recommended to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication, or after the mailing of printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation. Any investments recommended by Money Morning should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Money Morning Archive

© 2005-2016 - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.

Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Catching a Falling Financial Knife