Schwellenländer stoßen Euro ab – na und!?

Anfang der Woche war es ein großes Thema. Große Investmenthäuser berichteten in der FT darüber, dass die Notenbanken der Schwellenländer kräftig Euro abstoßen würden und damit zum jüngsten Kursverfall beigetragen hätten. Klar, daran kann ja nur die Euro-Schuldenkrise Schuld sein, könnte man zunächst vermuten. Doch ist sie nicht allein der wichtigste Grund. Für eine weltweite Neuausrichtung der Zentralbanken weg vom Euro gibt es allerdings noch keine Belege.

Wie uns mehrere Devisenmarktstrategen per Mail berichteten, stimmt es wohl tatsächlich, dass die Notenbanken in Osteuropa, Asien oder Lateinamerika in jüngster Zeit Euro verkauft bzw. weniger davon gekauft haben, um ihre Devisenreserven anzulegen. Interessant ist jedoch, dass sich viele Zentralbanken zuvor auch vom Dollar getrennt hatten. Auch wenn die Fachleute nicht zu weit ins Detail gehen können, um nicht vertrauliche Informationen aus ihrem Handel preiszugeben, hier ein paar interessante Aussagen dazu:

Geoffrey Yu von der UBS erklärt, weshalb die Notenbanken Euro verkaufen müssen, wenn sie vorher Dollar zur Stützung ihrer eigenen Währung verkauft haben:

The recent selling as reported is a ‚rebalance trade‘ and has nothing to do with the Eurozone itself. In effect, there has been capital flight out of Emerging Markets, and these central banks have sold dollars to support their own currencies. This means that in dollar terms, EM central banks were holding too many EURs, so they had to sell them to rebalance.

E.g. Central bank A has 100 bn in reserves, the mandated share of EUR vs.. USD is 50:50.

Due to capital flight, the central bank sells $10bn dollars to intervene in markets to support their own currencies. Now their reserve share is $50bn euros and $40bn dollars. However, they have to get back to 50% each, so the central bank proceeds to sell $5bn in EUR to ‚rebalance‘ their portfolios, which leaves them with $45bn EURs and $45bn USD.

Kit Juckes von der Socitété Générale hat beobachtet, dass die Euro-Verkäufe noch kein weit verbreiteter Trend unter den Zentralbanken sind:

I have seen reports of EM CBs selling, and seen some but not widespread evidence. There has been clear euro selling by E(ast)European central banks whose currencies have fallen vs the Euro. As for others, the ones who sell dollars to support their currency, also usually have a target of the make-up of their reserves. When they sell dollars, that changes the make-up of their portfolio, so they may sell euros vs dollars, to re-balance. This is illogical but the size of FX reserves is so big it is a form of national saving, on which central banks want to make a return. So they (…) look at the asset allocation of their holdings much as any other fund manager might.

Steven Englander von der Citigroup analysiert, dass die wichtigste Wirkung eher daher kommt, dass die Notenbanken der Schwellenländer einfach keine oder weniger Euro mehr dazu kaufen:

I would not exaggerate the actual selling, but the absence of buying makes a big difference. (…) EM currencies and markets are under pressure as well, so reserve accumulation has slowed markedly and the option of doing nothing is viable for reserve managers. That said, if reserves were growing more rapidly now, I doubt they would be trying to accumulate euro assets or even German assets – they would hang on to the USD and maybe some smaller G10 currencies. But the reality is that the major impact on the EUR is from the absence of buying, rather than outright selling.

Doch wann könnten die Notenbanken wieder stärker Euro kaufen?

Steven Englander von der Citi erwartet, dass der Euro wieder attraktiv für die Zentralbanker wird:

They would love to buy the euro again, if conditions improved, and by that I mean if the tail risk in the euro zone was reduced to insignificance. Their long-term USD concerns have not abated at all, but have been superseded by the intensity of the euro zone crisis. They will buy the euro across a broad range of monetary and fiscal policies, provided that we are not debating whether the euro will be here in five years. That tail risk is an enormous impediment to buying.

Euro zone break up scenarios are negative for the currencies of the countries that have left the euro but are also likely to be very highly negative for the residual EUR because of the likely financial and economic dislocation. That is hardly a theme reserve managers want to buy into, but if that debate could be put to rest, I think the euro would regain its attraction. Right now it is not a question of weeks, because the degree of confidence that has been lost is enormous and the euro zone will have to work hard to restore it.

Geoffrey Yu von der UBS erwartet nicht, dass die Zentralbanken Euro verkaufen werden:

We need to see a comprehensive resolution to the debt crisis, such as a fiscal union. I don’t think it’ll happen anytime soon. Central banks will not aggressively sell their existing euros, because it makes a bad market worse. However, unless there is no resolution, there will be no marginal buyer of EUR, which makes it hard for the currency to perform, but more importantly EM countries are not buying sovereign debt, making it hard for countries like Spain, and Italy to borrow at relatively cheap rates.

Für Kit Juckes von der Socitété Générale bleibt die Lage auf dem Devisenmarkt fragil solange das Überleben der Währung nicht gesichert ist:

If the euro survives, it will compete with the dollar as a reserve currency, just as the Euro Zone will be an important economic area. At the moment, the markets and investors and central bank reserve managers, are all questioning in what form the euro will survive. If at all. In a sense, the surprise is that more investors and CBs haven’t sold it while they question its survival. Is that testimony to a lack of alternatives, inertia, or deep-seated belief that somehow, the euro will survive? Either way, the euro will be vulnerable until survival is assured, and begin to recover thereafter.

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