Extract from Arthur B. Laffer’s paper on currency manipulation:
….Successful currency manipulation inhibits the exchange rate from acting as an automatic stabilizer to macroeconomic events, and thereby leads to growth and trade imbalances. Currency manipulation has therefore, in part, inhibited the world from fully recovering from the financial crisis. For instance, real growth has been tepid at best for developed countries that do not intervene in the foreign exchange market, while countries that have been identified as currency interventionists have experienced a much steadier pace of recovery from the financial crisis—this has been dubbed as the two-speed global recovery.
The two-speed recovery has shown, in part, that persistent currency undervaluation has benefited the currency manipulators at the expense of countries allowing the flexible adjustment of exchange rates, since the latters’ export-related activities must quickly respond to the external balances caused by trading partners’ currency devaluations. As of 2012, the scope of currency manipulation is estimated to be approximately $1.5 trillion per year, with about 60 percent of these flows channeling into dollar assets. Moreover, the impact of currency manipulation has potentially dampened the U.S. current account by about 4 percent of GDP in 2012, which was approximately the size of the U.S. output gap in the corresponding year. While providing an exact number of U.S. jobs lost due directly to currency manipulation is tricky, it is likely that millions of jobs in the U.S. were lost as a result of current account imbalances that were generated, in part, by currency manipulation.
These spillover effects would likely disappear if exchange rates were liberalized to better exhibit market fundamentals, which would also potentially improve welfare in undervalued currencies’ economies by improving domestic demand. In fact, further movement toward freely floating exchange rates and the removal of capital account restrictions will help rebalance global growth, which in turn will reduce financial and economic risk. Moreover, research has found that future financial crises can be, in part, predicted by large current account imbalances as such distortions suggest the misallocation of capital. In fact, earlier studies from Laffer Associates confirm this link between current account imbalances and financial crises helped explain the Asian currency crisis in the late 1990’s.
Considering the employment and economic impact of currency manipulation on the United States and given that the United States is negotiating a free trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), to avoid further harm and ensure the agreement’s benefits aren’t undermined by countries that have a history of manipulating their currencies, it is vital that the TPP include defined monetary policy standards and a means to identify currency manipulators and enforce violations…..