Loose Monetary Policies and Emerging Markets
So far we have focused on the United States and other mature, developed economies that have far too much debt.
With Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland at close to zero percent interest rates, it seemed like a good idea to stimulate the economy. However, emerging markets that maintain pegged currencies or that shadow the dollar are essentially reduced to importing excessively loose monetary policies.
Reserve growth across many emerging countries has been very strong over the last year. Emerging Asian countries account for almost 50 percent of global foreign exchange reserves. Huge Asian reserve growth since early last year is a result of mimicking loose monetary policies in the developed world to keep their currencies competitive. China has accumulated the most reserves of any emerging market country. This is directly related to its currency peg and its need to recycle the dollars it gets from its exports.
A result of Asian emerging markets’ importing loose monetary policy from developed markets is that domestic inflation rates are rising quickly, as policy rates remain too accommodative. Asian emerging market countries are facing a trilemma: They can fix any two of a pegged exchange rate, free flows of capital, or independence in monetary policy, but not all three. The end result is likely to be higher policy rates and currency appreciation. (See Figure 15.1.)