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Tags: Lieberman | currency | war | policy

Strategist Lieberman: Take Off Your Flak Jackets, There's No Currency War

By    |   Wednesday, 18 February 2015 09:43 AM EST

The media has been rife with reports of a currency war over the past few years, with many analysts warning of dire consequences.

But Charles Lieberman, chief investment officer at Advisors Capital Management, thinks they have it all wrong.

"There's been quite a bit of ink spilt over policymakers competing with one another to depreciate their currencies to the point that some suggest this could be a repeat of the 'beggar thy neighbor' strategy of the 1930s," he writes in a commentary provided to Moneynews.

"Neither part of this view is correct. In fact, relative currency movements are simply part of the market's response to policy efforts in each country to stimulate growth. And none of this bears any kind of resemblance to the self-defeating tariffs of Smoot-Hawley in the 1930s."

Lieberman actually sees all the currency devaluations taking place overseas as a good thing. "Collectively, today's policies will improve economic conditions on a global basis, although they may take some time," he argues.

The dollar has hit multi-year highs against a range of currencies in recent weeks.

Lieberman gave a few explanations as to why he doesn't believe a currency war is underway.

First, "it makes no sense for any country to adjust its own policy needs out of consideration of how this will affect its trading partners," he notes. Second, "a currency adjustment is more in the nature of shifting of demand around in a zero sum game, with some relatively modest efficiency losses as the price of the shifts in production."

In the end, Lieberman states, "each central banker will do what he/she judges appropriate in light of the needs of their own economies, which should work to the benefit of all of us."

Others see it differently, of course, maintaining that the currency war is real and will bring heavy casualties to participants on all sides.

"The chief threat from a global currency war is that it will lead central banks to take up monetary stances so extreme that they damage the smooth functioning of financial markets," Stephen Lewis, chief economist at Monument Securities, tells The Telegraph's Ambrose Evans-Pritchard.

"It is remarkable that they should be closing their minds to the possibility that they are undermining the basic motive to save and invest as they blindly wage their currency wars."

Meanwhile, Andreas Hoefert, chief economist at UBS Wealth Management, says the United States is doing the right thing by avoiding the currency skirmish and letting the dollar ascend. "The U.S. currently has little cause to be concerned," she writes in a commentary for CNBC.

The idea that the United States will suffer from a drop in exports caused by the dollar's strength doesn't cut muster, Hoefert says. That's because the United States "doesn't rely on foreign trade and derives its growth first and foremost from domestic demand."

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The media has been rife with reports of a currency war over the past few years, with many analysts warning of dire consequences.
Lieberman, currency, war, policy
Wednesday, 18 February 2015 09:43 AM
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