5 January 2007

Global Liquidity issues

immobilienblasen: The global gusher / economist: "First, average real interest rates in the developed world are still below their long-term average. Second, America's huge current-account deficit and the consequent build-up of foreign-exchange reserves by countries with external surpluses has also pumped vast quantities of dollars into the financial system. A large chunk of Asia's reserves and oil exporters' petrodollars have been used to buy American Treasury securities, thereby reducing bond yields. In turn, low bond-market returns have encouraged bigger inflows into higher yielding emerging-market bonds, equities and property, especially in Asia. Liquidity has been further boosted by the use of derivatives, and by carry trades(borrowing in currencies with low interest rates, such as yen, to buy higher-yielding currencies).

The spread on emerging-market bond yields over American Treasury bonds fell to another record low last week. Share prices in emerging economies have risen by 243% on average from their trough in 2003. That still leaves the average price/earnings ratio below its historical average and less than that in developed countries, so for most markets it is premature to talk about bubbles. But if asset prices continue to climb at their recent pace, central bankers will become increasingly nervous. "

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