Interest Rate Roundup

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The embarassing state of Sino-U.S. affairs

How sad is it that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has to spend a few days grovelling before our Chinese creditors to try to stop the ongoing meltdown in the Treasury and currency markets? Am I the only one who thinks this is a truly sad state of affairs? Am I the only one who wishes our government would start taking steps to change things -- rather than just spout a bunch of meaningless blather about bringing down deficits and debt levels while enacting policies that have precisely the OPPOSITE impact?

Anyway, if you're interested in hearing China lecture the U.S. about its fiscal policies, take a crack at this Bloomberg story ...

"Yu Yongding, a former central bank adviser who acted as the interviewer for the China Daily newspaper, told Geithner: “I worry about details. We will be watching you very carefully.”

Or how about these gems from the Washington Post, which notes that despite Geithner's happy talk, China is not pleased with the way events are unfolding:

"Geithner's remarks stand in sharp contrast to the commentary in China's official propaganda papers.

"An editorial in the English-language China Daily said it will be "regrettable if [Geithner] underestimates and shuts his ears to voices from China's civil society," noting that there are worries that "Washington's mushrooming deficit, generated by massive government borrowing to fuel its economic recovery plan . . . will undermine both the dollar and U.S. bonds."

"The Global Times, which is affiliated with the Communist Party, said an online poll found that 87 percent of respondents believe China's dollar-assets are unsafe. The paper concluded, "Ordinary Chinese people are discontent with the declining value of China's huge foreign exchange reserves denominated in U.S. dollars."

"And the Economic Information Daily, which is part of the official New China News Agency and affiliated with the State Council, in a headline demanded to know of Geithner: "How do you propose implementing fiscal discipline? How will you maintain the stability of the dollar after the crisis?"

Today will be an interesting day. The dollar attempted to stabilize yesterday, rallying off its lows. But the Dollar Index is now getting pasted again -- down 42 bps to 78.74 as I write. Gold is up about $7 an ounce, but still below yesterday's high.


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