The world’s leading countries should agree a new currency pact to help rebalance the global economy, a leading association of financial institutions has urged.
The Institute of International Finance, which represents more than 420 of the world’s leading banks and finance houses, warned on Monday that a lack of such co-ordinated rebalancing could lead to more protectionism. Charles Dallara, IIF managing director, said: “A core group of the world’s leading economies need to come together and hammer out an understanding.”
Last week, Guido Mantega, Brazil’s finance minister, warned of the dangers of a “currency war” as countries unilaterally intervened to prevent the appreciation of their currencies. The US has been pressing China to allow its exchange rate to rise faster, while several countries including Japan, South Korea, Brazil and Switzerland, have been intervening to hold their currencies down.
Mr Dallara, who as a US official worked on the 1985 Plaza Accord which co-ordinated international action to strengthen the yen against the dollar, called for a more sophisticated updated version of such an agreement. This should include stronger commitments to medium-term fiscal stringency in the US and structural reform in Europe. “Exchange rate understandings are of little use on their own,” he said.
The institute also released its latest forecasts for net flows of capital to emerging markets, which showed a sharp upwards revision for 2010, with the previous estimate of $709bn rising to $825bn. The institute said that ultra-low monetary policy in rich countries was rapidly driving money into emerging markets in search of yield, risking destabilisation. “There is an environment of unilateralism and bilateralism, laced with contributions of isolationism and parochialism,” Mr Dallara said.