With many economies outside the United States struggling, the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan and now the People's Bank of China have opted to open wide the easing spigot.
The result: a currency war.
"Central bankers struggling against weak growth and falling inflation have come up with a cunning plan: shift the problems onto someone else," writes Alen Mattich of The Wall Street Journal.
"Finding it hard to stimulate domestic demand through cheap credit in a world of rock bottom interest rates, the next best solution central bankers have settled on is to generate growth by boosting net exports. And the way to do that is to devalue their currencies."
The Bank of Japan announced a vast expansion of its stimulus program last month, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi has been saying for weeks that the ECB will do the same, and China's central bank surprised financial markets with an interest-rate cut Friday.
Mattich isn't impressed. "In the short term, currency devaluation is a zero sum game. For every winner, there’s a loser," he says.
Komal Sri-Kumar, president of macroeconomic consulting firm Sri-Kumar Global Strategies, makes exactly the same point.
"Unfortunately, playing with exchange rates is a zero-sum game," he writes in the Financial Times.
"Any benefit to the depreciating country would be fleeting as trading nations fight back with similar measures."
Instead, countries should "implement structural changes that would expand world trade," Sri-Kumar says.
"The first of these is to open market segments that were previously closed to competition. . . . Currency wars are ultimately destructive. Structural changes would be the lasting way to boost global growth."
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