Ahead of Bloomberg’s FX12 event this past Wednesday, I tweeted “fx12: the timeliest conference of 2012.” I proved to be right.
Wall Street faces a changing and uncertain regulatory environment and an even more changing and uncertain global economic outlook. Those were the prevailing themes of the evening and provided rich fodder for three thoughtful, all-star panel discussions, instant audience surveys, and networking over tasty hors d’oeuvres.
The conversation began on the issue investors and traders are most concerned and curious about right now: the fiscal cliff. Former Senator Chris Dodd issued a stern warning that the President and Congress only have six or eight weeks to get it right, and if they don’t, “I guarantee you people will go back into their respective corners, solidify positions” and it will be very, very hard to make a deal. Alan Schwartz, former Bear Stearns CEO and current Guggenheim Chairman, called for a mechanism to in place in case a budget deal isn’t reached in time.
Of course, the conversation quickly moved to regulation and the Dodd-Frank financial legislation, named partly after Mr. Dodd, who said that there’s room to modify it, but don’t expect it to be repealed.
My panel on global economic crisis and currencies concentrated the developed world debt risks in Europe, the U.S. and Japan, the prospects for a global economic recession and currencies in this “QE world.”
IMF deputy managing director Nemat Shafik said the main risks to the global economy are policy uncertainties in the U.S. and Europe. John Taylor, who runs one of the largest currency hedge funds, FX Concepts, said he still hates the euro and prefers almost any other currency to it, including gold, but likes the U.S. dollar best.
The evening concluded with the sounds of Rihanna and Carly Rae Jepson playing in the background over drinks and dinner and lively conversation. And when it comes to the largest, most dynamic and widely traded market in the world, the FX market, it’s always a party.
Sara Eisen is a correspondent for Bloomberg Television where she specializes in covering global macroeconomics, with a focus on foreign exchange and fixed income markets.