World’s Reserves Now Shrinking
World Economy

World’s Reserves Now Shrinking

The decade-long surge in foreign-currency reserves held by the world’s central banks is coming to an end.
Global reserves declined to $11.6 trillion in March from a record $12.03 trillion in August 2014, halting a five-fold increase that began in 2004, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. While the drop may be overstated because the strengthening dollar reduced the value of other reserve currencies such as the euro, it still underlines a shift after central banks – with most of them located in developing nations like China and Russia – added an average $824 billion to reserves each year over the past decade.
Beyond being emblematic of the dollar’s return to its role as the world’s undisputed dominant currency, the drop in reserves has several potential implications for global markets. It could make it harder for emerging-market countries to boost their money supply and shore up faltering economic growth; it could add to declines in the euro; and it could damp demand for US Treasury bonds.

China Sells
Stripping out the effect from foreign-exchange fluctuations, Credit Suisse Group AG estimates that developing countries, which hold about two-thirds of global reserves, spent a net $54 billion of this stash in the fourth quarter, the most since the global financial crisis in 2008.
China, the world’s largest reserve holder, together with commodity producers contributed to most of the declines, as central banks sold dollars to offset capital outflows and shore up their currencies. A Bloomberg gauge of emerging-market currencies has lost 15 percent against the dollar over the past year.
China cut its stockpile to $3.8 trillion in December from a peak of $4 trillion in June, central bank data show. Russia’s supply tumbled 25 percent over the past year to $361 billion in March, while Saudi Arabia, the third-largest holder after China and Japan, has burned through $10 billion in reserves since August to $721 billion.

Euro’s Decline
The trend is likely to continue as oil prices stay low and growth in emerging markets remains weak, reducing the dollar inflows that central banks used to build reserves, according to Deutsche Bank AG.
Such a development is detrimental to the euro.
The euro’s share of global reserves dropped to 22 percent in 2014, the lowest since 2002, while the dollar’s rose to a five-year high of 63 percent, the International Monetary Fund reported March 31.
“The Middle East and China stand out as two regions that are likely to face ongoing pressures to run down reserves over the next few years,” Saravelos wrote in a note. The central banks there “need to sell euros,” he said.
The euro has declined against 29 of 31 major currencies this year as the European Central Bank stepped up monetary stimulus to avert deflation. The currency tumbled to a 12-year low of $1.0458 on March 16, before rebounding to $1.0981 at 11:11 a.m. on Monday in Tokyo.

Growth Slows
Central banks in emerging nations started to build up reserves in the wake of the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s to safeguard their markets for periods when access to foreign capital dries up. They also bought dollars to limit appreciation in their own exchange rates, quadrupling reserves from 2003 and boosting their holdings of US Treasuries to $4.1 trillion from $934 billion, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
The reserve accumulation adds money supply to the financial system – each dollar purchase creates a corresponding amount of new local currency – and helps stimulate the economy. Annual monetary base in China and Russia grew at an average 17 percent in the decade through 2013, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The expansion rate tumbled to 6 percent last year.


Short URL : http://goo.gl/UtdZZb

You can also read ...

More and more Thai merchants are integrating WeChat Pay and Alipay’s systems to cater to tourists.
The internet has changed the way most people live. Through...
Cambodia’s economic outlook remains positive, but is subject to downside risks.
The IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde expressed optimism...
More India Bank Frauds Revealed
Over 25,800 fraud cases involving about Rs179 crore ($1.79...
Free trade achieves more good for the planet.
US President Donald Trump’s steel tariffs have brought the...
Qatar Calls to Investigate UAE Bank’s Bogus Deals
Qatar has asked US regulators to investigate the US subsidiary...
Morocco Currency Reform on Right Track
Few weeks after the launch of the gradual dirham float, the...
EU Readies Tax on US Technological Titans
The European Union will next week unveil plans for a digital...
Apparel imports from ASEAN are growing, spurred by low labor costs  in such countries as Vietnam.
Import prices for apparel and daily goods in Japan plunged...