UN team warns of hard landing for dollar
By Harvey Morris in New York
Published: December 1 2008 08:48
The current strength of the dollar is temporary and the US currency risks a hard landing in 2009, according to a team of United Nations economists who foresaw a year ago that a US downturn would bring the global economy to a near standstill.
In their annual report on the world economy published on Monday, the economists said the dollar’s sharp rebound this autumn had been driven mainly by a flight to the safety of the international reserve currency as the financial crisis spread beyond the US.
The overall trend remained a downward one, however, reflecting perceptions that the US debt position was approaching unsustainable levels. An accelerated fall of the dollar could bring new turmoil to financial markets.
“Investors might renew their flight to safety, though this time away from dollar-denominated assets, thereby forcing the US economy into a hard landing and pulling the global economy into a deeper recession,” the report said.
...The UN team said that, as the financial crisis spread beyond the US, there had been a massive shift of global financial assets into US Treasury bills, driving their yields almost to zero and pushing the dollar sharply higher. At the same time, however, the US’s external debt had risen to new heights that could provoke a dollar collapse....
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