Dollar, Euro, Pound Are All ‘Ugly Sisters,’ HSBC’s King Says

Posted By on April 26, 2010

 April 26, 2010, 10:46 AM EDT

By Jennifer Ryan

April 26 (Bloomberg) — The dollar, euro and pound are all unappealing investments, either because of policies of “benign neglect” or concerns on the euro region’s stability, said Stephen King, chief economist at HSBC Holdings Plc.

“It is a competition between ugly sisters, they are none of them particularly attractive” he said in an interview today in London. In the U.S. and U.K., “there will be a policy of a desire not so much to drive the currency low, but a policy of benign neglect. If the dollar weakens and sterling weakens, the authorities in those countries will be more than happy.”

The European Central Bank won’t want to see a weaker euro because that would imply a loss of investor confidence in the single currency, King said. The euro has dropped against the dollar and sterling on concern that Greece won’t get a rescue package to help it meet its debt payments.

“If the euro weakens, it’s more a worry about the stability of the euro zone and that’s more of a concern to the ECB,” he said. “You’ve got on the one hand the benign neglect approach from the States and the U.K., on the other you have the worries about the structural integrity of the euro, which is obviously weakening the euro.”

King’s book, “Losing Control: The Emerging Threats to Western Prosperity,” will be published next month.

The euro is down about 1.5 percent against the dollar this month and traded at $1.3331 as of 2:39 p.m. in London. The currency has dropped 3.3 percent against the pound in the same period to 86.13 pence.

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