[OPE-L] beginning of stampede from the dollar to the euro?

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Thu Oct 19 2006 - 20:34:02 EDT


Australian Treasurer Seeks Orderly Withdrawal From U.S. Dollar

By John Garnaut
Economics Correspondent

10/19/06 "SMH" -- -- TREASURER Peter Costello has called on East Asia's
central bankers to "telegraph" their intentions to diversify out of
American investments and ensure an orderly adjustment.

Central banks in China, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong have
channelled immense foreign reserves into American government bonds,
helping to prop up the US dollar and hold down American interest rates.

Mr Costello said "the strategy had changed" and Chinese central bankers
were now looking for alternative investments.

"Of course you can have an orderly adjustment," he told reporters. "And
what I would recommend is that these matters be telegraphed well in
advance. I think we should begin preparing ourselves for it."

Mr Costello said the "re-emergence" of China as the world's greatest
economy "is not something to be feared".

Asked if a muscular China would be a force for good, however, Mr Costello
said it would be good for growth and stability. "With the growing economic
strength you will see growing influence in diplomacy in the regional
architecture, as you would expect.

"I am sure it will be a force for economic development and I am sure that
in partnership with other global powers, China wants to see a stable East
Asian region."

Earlier, in a speech to open the Australian National University's East
Asian Bureau of Economic Research, Mr Costello said Australia's
involvement in the region was broader than economics.

"It is a key ingredient of who we are as a people," he said. "While
Australia has its own unique culture, we are also a people who confidently
enjoy the cultures of Asia, with seven of our top 10 overseas travel
destinations being in the region."

Ahead of next month's G20 meeting in Melbourne, Mr Costello called on
regional leaders to reform their anachronistic financial systems.

He said underdeveloped financial markets were to blame for the emerging
economies of East Asia sending 94 per cent of outward portfolio investment
to "ageing" countries outside the region.

He said the region needed to improve poor macroeconomic frameworks,
inadequate regulatory systems, uncompetitive markets and insufficient
investment in health and education

Copyright  2006. The Sydney Morning Herald.


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