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Friday, January 23, 2009

Geithner: Immediately Puts Foot in Mouth, Markets Tank

Knocking on 800 pre-market. There really is no reason for that support to hold. 740 here we come! There ain't nothing Obama can do...

800... then 740, then 600 something... should be fun. Strap on those helmets.

The catalyst for this round of selling were the comments yesterday (which are now being debated vigorously) from Timothy Geithner that sounded very protectionist. He accused the Chinese of currency manipulation. The guy gets sworn in and immediately sticks his entire foot in his mouth. Brilliant.

Upsetting the only people with enough buying power to absorb the massive amount of treasuries that are now being issued is one of the most asshat things anybody could do, especially on their first day at work.

Geithner Warning on Yuan May Renew U.S.-China Tension (Update3): “Timothy Geithner’s warning that President Barack Obama believes China is “manipulating” its currency may trigger renewed tensions between two of the world’s three biggest economies.

Geithner, Obama’s nominee for Treasury secretary, also told senators the administration will press China to “adopt a more aggressive stimulus package” to boost its domestic economy. The remarks on manipulation were a shift from President George W. Bush’s team, which stopped short of using the term in criticizing China’s exchange-rate management.

“The signal this sends is not good” for ties between the two nations, said Charles Freeman, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former top trade negotiator for China at the U.S. Trade Representative’s office. “It opens a Pandora’s box. We need the Chinese to hold onto their Treasury and agency debt.”

Geithner’s comments triggered a drop in Treasuries on concern that demand from China, the largest foreign investor in U.S. government debt, may wane. They may also reignite calls among some U.S. lawmakers for measures to punish trading partners perceived to have undervalued exchange rates.

“What they can’t work out diplomatically we can work out legislatively,” said Representative Charles Rangel of New York, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over trade issues, in an interview. “The committee has been saying for years” that China has manipulated the yuan’s value, he said.”


Anonymous said...

Astonishingly stupid crack about the Chinese. regardless of truth-value, it was stupid in a diplomatic sense.
Treasuries may falter sooner now, rather than later.
But when a rally does come (off god-knows-what-lows) it will be fast.

Anonymous said...

This will be exciting. Then again, the only way that Congress will stop their grandiose spending will be for China to stop lending us money.

Anonymous said...

Why would the debtor spit in the creditors' eyes?
Why would the world's largest consumer of petroleum attack of the world's largest holder of petroleum reserves (Iraq once it is completely prospected)?
How about: Banker getting price of assets cheaper by his comments, so as other bankers can use taxpayer-provided 'reserves' to buy up crashed assets on the cheap?
Those with the cash can afford to wait for it...

Gary said...

Isn't it possible that China knows that our officials will say things in public that are at odds with whatever Paulson told them in private? What really matters is whatever we discuss with them behind closed doors. It's really not smart to take anything that government officials say in public at face value.


Irrational Doomsday Blog said...

Is the US not manipulating its currency? I mean, realistically, what would you call this kind of over the top stimulation, ZIRP, quantitative easing, balance sheet games, etc etc.

Is the real complaint that the Chinese are not allowing the US currency manipulation to fully benefit the US at the cost of the Chinese?

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