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Global Economies Simmer Over QEII

I’m not sure that the new Fed bond purchase program will help the economy a whole lot, but the rest of the world is certainly teed off about it.

Germany and China have expressed concerns over US plans to pump $600bn (£373bn) into the US economy.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said the US would not solve its problems, but create “extra problems for the world” instead.

Some countries fear that the US Federal Reserve’s move could hurt their exports by making their currencies stronger.

China’s Central Bank head Zhou Xiaochuan urged a reform of the international currency system.

He did not elaborate how the system should be changed.

Why yes, it could hurt world exports, it could make other currencies stronger, and given that both those things could increase US employment, that’s, um, the goal.

Emerging markets like Indonesia in particular are concerned because too much money is streaming into their markets.

As the United States and other developed countries cope with what might be years of slow growth and frugality, the concern in Indonesia is – quite literally – over too much money and how to prevent it from sowing a future crisis.

Governments from Bangkok to Buenos Aires are imposing new taxes and other conditions to try curbing the flow, which can make local currencies more expensive, impede local exporters and create asset bubbles that ultimately crash.

Brazil is talking about retaliation.

I wish we had the ability to just hand over money to the US public that they could spend, instead of going through this Rube Goldberg process that leads to a lot of capital flight to other markets. But let’s be clear about this. The global economy depends on growth in the United States, as surely as it depends on growth in China or Europe. A stagnant US economy is not good for emerging markets, and it’s not good for their exports. A rising tide does lift all boats in this scenario. But the US needs to have a piece of that export pie, or else our role as the consumer to the world is simply unsustainable.

The overseas anger makes me just a little bit more confident that this can actually work, although the fear is that it gets captured by banks instead of getting to people.

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David Dayen

David Dayen