The currencies of emerging markets have hit the skids big-time over the past two years — the dollar has gained 19 percent against India's rupee, for example — and that's not a good thing, says Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes Media.
"Developing countries, such as Brazil, Indonesia, India and South Africa, have made clear their ambition to grow into global economic powerhouses," he writes in Forbes magazine
"But all of these nations have overlooked a crucial requirement of economic greatness: a stable currency. Investors and entrepreneurs yearn for sound money, just as marketplaces function best when weights and measures are reliable and fixed."
So what should developing countries due to attain that stability? "They should start by formally fixing their currencies to either the dollar or the euro," Forbes argues.
If India did so, few years later it could adopt a gold standard, he says. Then, "within a generation it would surpass the economy of its former colonial master, Britain, as well as that of China."
Elsewhere on the currency front, it's been a wild ride, generally upward, for the dollar in recent months against the euro and the yen. And many currency market participants expect the greenback's strength to continue, though at a slower pace.
The euro hit a 12-year low of $1.0458 March 13, but has now bounced back to $1.1400. Meanwhile, after touching a seven-year high of 121.46 yen December 5, the dollar settled around 120 yen until May. It then jumped to a 12-year high of 124.77 yen June 1 and now trades at 122.80 yen.
The dollar has benefited from divergent monetary policy, as the European Central Bank and Bank of Japan have intensified their easing while the Federal Reserve is moving toward tightening policy. Stronger economic growth and higher interest rates in the U.S. than Japan and Europe also are boosting the dollar.
A continuation of this environment should aid the U.S. currency, foreign exchange experts say.
"I'm still a dollar bull," Marc Chandler, head of currency strategy for Brown Brothers Harriman, told Institutional Investor
. "The Fed is likely to raise interest rates in September. And even if we're wrong, the Fed is well ahead of the ECB and the BOJ" in withdrawing stimulus.
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