Criticism of quantitative easing grows over concern for falling dollar and inflation (+ analysis); Is South Korea finally to get its FTA?; Iran open to nuclear talks – so long as they're in Turkey; Obama arrives in Indonesia as favourite son; and more
Top of the Agenda: Criticism of Fed Move Mounts Ahead of G20
Criticism mounted over US economic policy and the Federal Reserve's plan to buy $600 billion in US Treasury bonds ahead of the G20 meetings, prompting US President Barack Obama to defend the Fed's move (WSJ). Emerging markets, including Brazil, Argentina, and China, have expressed concern that the Fed's policy will depress the value of the US dollar. At a joint news conference with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday, Obama said that, although the administration doesn't comment on Fed actions, "the Fed's mandate, my mandate, is to grow our economy. And that's not just good for the United States, that's good for the world as a whole." Ma Delun, a deputy governor of the People's Bank of China, said the Fed's program would pressure emerging markets to adjust their international balance of payments (Reuters) and cause inflows of "hot money." German Chancellor Angela Merkel also criticized US trade protectionism in a Financial Times interview, adding that exchange rates should "reflect the real economic strength of a country." Domestically, the Fed's move sparked criticism that the policy will fuel inflation (WashPost), especially among Republicans aligned with the Tea Party. Representative Mike Pence (R-IN), who attacked the Fed's decision, invited Kansas City Fed President Thomas Hoenig, who dissented from the action at the Fed's policy meeting last week, to address the House Republican Conference.
In the Financial Times, Gideon Rachman says although the central tension facing the G20 involves the United States and China, there are seven major axes that divide the world, including surplus vs. deficit countries, manipulators vs. manipulated, tighteners vs. splurgers, and democracies vs. autocracies.
The Peterson Institute's Juan Carlos Martinez Oliva says the G20 should agree to limit excessive payment balances, which would "halt the endless disputes over the right level of the equilibrium exchange rate between surplus and deficit countries."
PACIFIC RIM: China Looms in US-South Korea Trade Pact
US and South Korean officials are aiming to conclude a free-trade agreement (WashPost) this week, which leaders say will benefit their economies, deepen ties between two long-standing allies, and offset China's rising regional power.
Japan: Japan's 24 percent increase in its current account surplus (FT) just ahead of the G20 summit could bring its role in international imbalances under closer scrutiny.
This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org