Wednesday, May 21, 2003

An interesting tidbit in the otherwise insipid New York Times business coverage:

"To limit or prevent their currencies' rise against the dollar despite substantial trade surpluses, Asian governments have been buying dollars from exporters, paying with more of their domestic currency. They have accumulated hoards of foreign exchange reserves as a result, with the world's top five holders of such reserves all in Asia. According to figures from the International Monetary Fund and the Chinese central bank for March, the most recent month available, Japan had reserves of $496.2 billion, China had $316 billion, Taiwan had $171 billion, South Korea had $124 billion and Hong Kong had $114 billion."
So we find out that East Asia may really hold the fate of the dollar in its hands, not Europe or John Snow. If there are any attacks on the East Asian currencies a la 1997 and the East Asians are forced to sell dollars to defend their pegs and the world market is flooded with dollars which then forces the dollar even lower at not a gentle descent but a sharp crash -- well, you get the picture.

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