Asian initiative will benefit east and west

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 February, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 February, 2006, 12:00am


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Raise the subject of bonds and invariably thoughts turn to the Asian bond initiative, which has united central bankers in the region to promote the development of regional currency bonds.

The initiative has a self-serving objective: Asia's big savers are supporting America's big spenders by buying US short-term debt paper. America's big investors are then recycling this money into taking stakes in Asia's long-term economic future. If there were deep and liquid regional currency bonds, Asian issuers could tap Asian savings and put that money to work building their own economies.

While the initiative has barely begun and a long road lies ahead, Newton Investment Management fund manager Stewart Cowley believes it is already showing signs of progress.

'In this respect, the west should be careful not to rely on the support of Asian savers forever,' he said.

'The Far East has massive gold and foreign exchange reserves and, like any prudent saver, you should never have all your eggs in one basket. As Asia develops, the west must reform itself in its borrowing and spending otherwise it will head towards a funding crisis.

'The dependency culture of the west must change soon. At present, there appears to be little political will to confront this issue, and for this reason alone we are expecting a slow depreciation of the US dollar in the coming years. We are positioning the Mellon Global Bond Fund to take advantage of this for our investors.'