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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Outlook for the USD-JPY

This chart highlights the long term decline in the USD as a result of currency debasement. They all do it, though the US is worse than any other country. Why? Because the USD is the base currency, that is the the currency in which most debt is priced, and most commodities are sold. This is a powerful position because it means that the USA has the power to debase its currency, yet still repay its debt in its own currency. So if the USA is debasing its currency it has a huge credibility problem.
You might ask - Who would care? Well you might think the Japanese, Chinese and Arab governments who are accumulating large amounts of US debt. But no - that is not apparent. We dont see alot of complaining from those quarters. The reason is that they see opportunity where others see problems. The opportunity is:
1. Higher interest rates in the USA
2. Reform of this poorly structured monetary system
3. Continued economic prosperity in the interim, which they profit from, whether its sales of Chinese & Japanese exports, or purchases of Arab oil.
In this last chart we can see that the USd-JPY has stabilised in the 100-130 Yen range. Currently the USD is trading at 107 yen, and I believe it will return to 100 yen, last reached in 2005. Once again the fall in the USD is being orchestrated by a decline in the Fed Reserve interest rate. At that point, there is really two ways for the government (likely a Democrat govt) can address its issues:
1. Increase interest rates and taxation
2. Print USD to repay all those foreign holders of US treasury notes, or some combination of these 2 options.
3. Reform the economy
The US is already one of the most vibrant economies in the world by virtue of the US values system and its dynamic, free-thinking people. But government works in mysterious ways. We have already made the point that the USA benefits from the current monetary system. But I suspect the US might be willing to debase its currency to get Japan and China (and Asia for that matter) to legitimately price their currencies. At some point, these countries will have a large portion of their savings in US treasuries.
I wanted to provide this forecast of the outlook for the USD-JPY for the sake of property investors in Japan. Refer to my report on Japanese Foreclosed Property 2008.
Andrew Sheldon

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