Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dollar to become world's 'weakest currency,' says JPMorgan - Business Intelligence Middle East - - News, analysis, reports

The dollar may fall below ¥75 next year as it becomes the world’s “weakest currency” due to the Federal Reserve’s monetary-easing program, according to JPMorgan & Chase Co.

The U.S. central bank, along with those in Japan and Europe, will keep interest rates at record lows in 2011 as they seek to boost economic growth, said Tohru Sasaki, head of Japanese rates and foreign-exchange research at the second-largest U.S. bank by assets.

U.S. policy makers may take additional easing steps following the US$600 billion bond-purchase program announced this month depending on inflation and the labor market, he said.

“The U.S. has the world’s largest current-account deficit but keeps interest rates at virtually zero,” Sasaki said at a forum in Tokyo yesterday. “The dollar can’t avoid the status as the weakest currency.”

The Fed said on Novenebr 3 it will buy US$75 billion of Treasuries a month through June to cap borrowing costs. The central bank has kept its benchmark rate in a range of zero to 0.25% since December 2008. The Bank of Japan on October 5 cut its key rate to a range of zero to 0.1% and set up a ¥5 trillion (US$59.9 billion) asset-purchase fund.

The greenback declined to post-World War II low of ¥79.75 yen in April 1995. The U.S. currency has declined against 12 of its 16 most-traded counterparts this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

There’s no need for any monetary tightening in the U.S. as even prolonged easing won’t heighten inflationary pressures with the balance sheets of banks and households still hurting from the fallout of the global financial crisis, Sasaki said.

Ten-year Treasury yields may decline to around 2.25% over the next year, and their premium over similar-maturity Japanese yields won’t widen, he said. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yielded 2.89% today.

The world economy is likely to expand 3% next year amid the extra liquidity provided by central banks, “repeating a pattern from early 2002 to the end of 2004” when improving risk appetite boosted stocks and commodities and the dollar fell 25% against the yen, Sasaki said.

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