With so many financial markets in flux our central banking overlords are lost in a world of confusion right now. Also the slowing world economy has them in a tizzy as even the most credulous must realise that their Forward Guidance is an oxymoron and the less polite will drop the oxy bit. All this is symbolised in a way by the Italian ten-year yield falling below 1% this morning in a scenario that in the past would have led to a bond vigilante all-nighter.
There is also an individual element to the next bit as the author of the new currency plan is looking to enhance his own claims for the job as head of the IMF. Here is the editor of the Financial Times Lionel Barber.
A heavyweight last minute pitch for the IMF job from the Canadian-British-Irish candidate – well worth reading.
The most revealing bit I think is the journey from being according to the FT a “rock star” central banker to someone whose name apparently cannot be mentioned. Governor Carney will no doubt be furious that his long-planned coronation as head of the IMF seems to have been usurped even in terms of UK support by his former boss George Osborne.
Learning nothing from his debacles with an equilibrium unemployment rate ( remember when he signposted 7%) and the lower bound for interest-rates ( stating 0.5% then cutting to 0.25% and promising 0.1% at one point) we have a new toy.
In an increasingly integrated world, global r* exerts a greater influence on domestic r*. As the global
equilibrium rate falls, it becomes more difficult for domestic monetary policy makers everywhere to provide
the stimulus necessary to achieve their objectives.
For newer readers r* is the idea of a normal or equilibrium interest-rate and until around last November was what the US Federal Reserve was searching for. However as their Ivory Tower fantasy got even vaguely close to reality they ended up singing along with U2.
But I still haven’t found
What I’m looking for
But I still haven’t found
What I’m looking for
Under pressure from President Trump they gave up and decided that south was the new north and started to cut interest-rates.
Returning to the speech the ordinary person would not know the difference between an interest-rate of 1% caused by world or domestic r^. Why is he doing this? Having slashed interest-rates and it not working he and his cohorts want to shift the blame onto someone or something else. Also if you think this through logically he seems upset that he cannot reduce the value of the UK Pound £.
So if this was a game of chess he has had everything he wanted but now the results are embarrassing he wants to knock the board over like a child in a fit of pique
In the medium term, policymakers need to reshuffle the deck…….In the longer term, we need to change the game.
What to do
Those familiar with the track record of Governor Carney will not be surprised by this bit.
In these circumstances, the Committee can extend the horizon over which it returns inflation to target…… policymakers would do better to trade off inflation and output volatility,
A bit of inflation will fix it. Meanwhile back in the real world people are worse off. Whilst he is at it there is also time to make his dream job even more important. It is hard to know where to start with the moral hazard in this bit.
The deficiencies in the current IMFS mean that the IMF should play a central role in informing both domestic
and cross border policies. In particular, discussions at the Fund can identify those circumstances when
spillovers from the core are particularly acute.
Is this the same IMF that helped foster an economic depression in Greece and is currently in quite a quagmire with its programme in Argentina where there are 70% interest-rates in spite of it being the largest ever intervention or a fantasy one? Still there is some more time to make his dream job even better.
Pooling resources at the IMF, and thereby distributing the costs across all 189 member countries, is much
more efficient than individual countries self-insuring…….A better alternative would be to hold $3 trillion in pooled
resources, achieving the same level of insurance for a much lower cost. This would imply a tripling in the
IMF’s resources over the next decade, enough to maintain their current share of global external liabilities.
With responsibility and power comes accountability or at least it should. Still with that amount of pooled funding the IMF would be able to shuffle its Argentina problem into a dark corner.
Here is the nub of it. As ever such things require an acronym and International Monetary Financial System is the new one. Perhaps International Rescue was too much even for them.
The main advantage of a multipolar IMFS is diversification. Multiple reserve currencies would increase the supply of safe assets, alleviating the downward pressures on the global equilibrium interest rate that an
asymmetric system can exert. And with many countries issuing global safe assets in competition with each
other, the safety premium they receive should fall.
Actually the main disadvantage of a multipolar IMFS is its diversification so we have nor started well. For example how would the move in recent times of the Euro from 7.5 Chinese Yuan to 7.9 then relate to “safe assets”? Also how would the flash rally of the Japanese Yen back in January? Whilst in theory a type of actual Special Drawing Right ( the present IMF currency unit) works there is no evidence it would work in practice and in fact would be a complete debacle if everyone wanted US Dollars.
Even if you issue assets in a new “SDR-IMFS” there is the problem that you would be paying for it in your own currency be it Pounds, Euros or Yen so there is a risk which can only be alleviated by fixed exchange rates. With the issues around the Euro I doubt even the most elevated Ivory Tower really believes a type of global Euro would work but of course with them you never really know.
As a consequence, it is an open question whether such a new Synthetic Hegemonic Currency (SHC) would
be best provided by the public sector, perhaps through a network of central bank digital currencies.
I thought that today I would provide my comment using the words of Governor Carney to explain what he really plans. He is where he is actively misleading listeners/readers.
A more diversified IMFS would also reduce spillovers from the core and by so doing lower the synchronisation of trade and financial cycles. That would in turn reduce the fragilities in the system, and increase the sustainability of capital flows, pushing up the equilibrium interest rate.
The truth is tucked away here.
While the likelihood of a multipolar IMFS might seem distant at present, technological developments provide
the potential for such a world to emerge. Such a platform would be based on the virtual rather than the
Ah a virtual currency! Here is the IMF on that from February.
One option to break through the zero lower bound would be to phase out cash. But that is not straightforward. Cash continues to play a significant role in payments in many countries. To get around this problem, in a recent IMF staff study and previous research, we examine a proposal for central banks to make cash as costly as bank deposits with negative interest rates, thereby making deeply negative interest rates feasible while preserving the role of cash.
By up he means down.
What never happens in these sort of reports is addressing the problem of why increasing the dose again will work after so many failures?
Me on The Investing Channel