An Asian IMF?

Yes, that’s what Bloomberg’s William Pesek suggests we might see evolving. As Pesek notes, the creation of an Asian Monetary Fund would:

“have major consequences for the global elites and the so-called “Washington Consensus” on how developing nations should go about raising living standards for their swelling and often poor populations.”

In particular, if this came off, not only would we be talking about a European social model, we would also be looking at an Asian one.

Certainly the idea makes sense. All those current account surpluses mean that there is bags of liquidity knocking around to try to underpin growth and guarantee financial stability.

The recent dispute between China and Japan places a question mark over the political viability of such a fund in the short term, but against this could be placed the attraction for China of having a support line outside Washington in the event of financial instability following a currency float.

As Pesek explains:

“Fueling speculation the Asian Monetary Fund is back was a statement by a top Asian Development Bank (ADB) official that currency-swap arrangements agreed to by the region have “the potential to become an Asian monetary fund.” That it was made by Masahiro Kawai, an adviser to ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda, made it all the more significant.

Japan was arguably the most vocal advocate of an IMF-like organization for Asia, and Kuroda is a former vice finance minister. To connect the dots a bit, Kuroda plans to use his time at the ADB to accelerate the economic integration and self- sufficiency of Asia. An Asian Monetary Fund seems a natural step in that direction.”

As he also wrly notes: ” Taken together, these steps will not only move Asia further down the path of integration, but also reduce its reliance on the dollar. It means U.S. fears of Asians dumping Treasuries to bring the money home may have just gotten a little more real.

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About Edward Hugh

Edward 'the bonobo is a Catalan economist of British extraction. After being born, brought-up and educated in the United Kingdom, Edward subsequently settled in Barcelona where he has now lived for over 15 years. As a consequence Edward considers himself to be "Catalan by adoption". He has also to some extent been "adopted by Catalonia", since throughout the current economic crisis he has been a constant voice on TV, radio and in the press arguing in favor of the need for some kind of internal devaluation if Spain wants to stay inside the Euro. By inclination he is a macro economist, but his obsession with trying to understand the economic impact of demographic changes has often taken him far from home, off and away from the more tranquil and placid pastures of the dismal science, into the bracken and thicket of demography, anthropology, biology, sociology and systems theory. All of which has lead him to ask himself whether Thomas Wolfe was not in fact right when he asserted that the fact of the matter is "you can never go home again".

4 thoughts on “An Asian IMF?

  1. I wouldn’t go that far Lord George. Of course perhaps you find his view that “Japan, South Korea and China should be joining hands to ensure that today’s rapid economic growth continues” rather naieve, and that may be so, at the same time it is also interesting to note that despite all the political rhetoric economic integration seems to move forward apace.

    “Now, a short-sighted dispute over those rocks threatens to undermine long-term trade between Japan and South Korea and, ultimately, economic growth.

    Toyota officials acknowledge that demand for their cars among Koreans has dropped since island-related tensions flared. The company sold 5,362 vehicles, mostly from its Lexus range, in South Korea last year.”

    Yes, and a dispute over a tract of desert recently saw demand for French wine plummeting in some parts of the world. I don’t see why the fact that Pesek finds this kind of thing frustrating makes him a t**t.

    On another topic: if you like Robert D Kaplan and Salonica, you could try a viewing of the first installment of Angelopoulos’s “weeping meadow” trilogy, although now I come to think of it there isn’t much evidence of Salonica’s multi-ethnic history to be found there.

  2. “just publishes less than practical quasi-idealist drivel on a regular basis”

    Well if that’s your point, you may well be right. I don’t read him often enough to be able to judge.

    Even taking the case in point: an Asian coordinating fund makes a lot of sense on paper, but there is a leap of ‘faith’ involved in seeing it as realisable anytime soon.

    At the same time ‘stuff does happen’ and things do change, so it may be better not to be too cynical either.

    In terms of the Chinese administration (which no-one could imagine was even ‘quasi idealist’), I am still struck by the way Japanese technology is being bought, and even retired Japanese managers extensively employed, even while the volume of diatribe is turned up.

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