I was wondering when someone would throw the “Currency Manipulator” label at Japan. It happened on Thursday.
Bloomberg reports Ford’s CEO Calls Japan Currency Manipulator Amid Weaker Yen.
Ford Motor Co. (F) Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally called Japan a currency manipulator that’s giving local exporters an unfair edge as the weaker yen threatens to undermine U.S. automakers’ profits.
Japan is “absolutely” manipulating its currency, the CEO of the second-biggest U.S. automaker said in a Bloomberg TV interview today. “With the currency manipulation, we just have to get back to the place where the currencies are set by the markets and the free trade agreements really are free trade agreements.”
Mulally, who’s expressed concerns about the yen throughout this year, illustrates how the currency-led boon for Japanese exporters is drawing mounting international criticism. Bank of Korea Governor Kim Choong Soo this week urged Asian countries to work together to defend themselves against the side-effects of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s reflation campaign.
What Country Isn’t a Manipulator?
Currency manipulation is everywhere you look: China, Brazil, Japan, Switzerland, the US, and every country actually.
Some countries intervene directly. Japan, Brazil, China, and Switzerland are in that list. The rest do it via interest rate manipulation (holding rates too low) and/or various Quantitative Easing schemes which act indirectly to weaken a currency.
Brazil holds the distinction of intervening to both weaken and strengthen its currency within the same year. For more on Brazil intervention madness, please see …
- Brazilian Currency Touches Four-Year Low Prompting Intervention; Currency Intervention Madness Displayed in Chart Form
- 800,000 Protest in Brazil Over a 10-Cent Hike in Fares and the High Cost of Staging the World Cup; Police Join Protestors; Inflation, Corruption, as Boom Comes to an End
It’s easy enough to stop the manipulation, at least in theory: Get rid of the central banks and their bubble-blowing currency debasement policies, end fractional reserve lending, and return to a gold standard.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock