Shamim Adam, On Thursday August 4, 2011, 2:59 am EDT
Just eight months ago, Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega declared a “truce” in competitive currency devaluations. Now, Japanese and Swiss moves to weaken the yen and the franc show reviving tension in foreign-exchange markets as the deteriorating U.S. economy weighs on the dollar.
Japan sold yen today, causing the currency to weaken as much as 3.1 percent against the dollar after rising 5 percent last month. “Ongoing one-sided moves” would hurt the recovery from a March earthquake, Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda said. Yesterday, the Swiss National Bank cut interest rates to rein in the franc after a gain of about 36 percent in the past 12 months.
Europe’s sovereign debt crisis and the battle between Republican leaders and U.S. President Barack Obama over the budget and borrowing limits drove investors to the perceived safety of yen and francs. The risk of a U.S. return to recession, forcing
A “perfect storm” of fiscal woe in the U.S., a slowdown in China, European debt restructuring and stagnation in Japan may converge on the global economy, New York University professor Nouriel Roubini said.
There’s a one-in-three chance the factors will combine to stunt growth from 2013, Roubini said in a June 11 interview in Singapore. Other possible outcomes are “anemic but OK” global growth or an “optimistic” scenario in which the expansion improves.
“There are already elements of fragility,” he said. “Everybody’s kicking the can down the road of too much public and private debt. The can is becoming heavier and heavier, and bigger on debt, and all these problems may come to a head by 2013 at the latest.”
Elevated U.S. unemployment, a surge in oil and food prices, rising
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