Tag Archives: Petrodollars

Dulce et Decorum Est, by Alexander Aston

We may be approaching a historical juncture as important as that of 1914, when World War I started. From Alexander Ashton at theautomaticearth.com:

“Dulce et Decorum est” is a poem written by Wilfred Owen during World War I, and published posthumously in 1920. The Latin title is taken from Ode 3.2 of the Roman poet Horace and means “it is sweet and fitting …”. It is followed there by “pro patria mori”, which means “to die for one’s country”.

 

 

“The muffled tongue of Big Ben tolled nine by the clock as the cortege left the palace, but on history’s clock it was sunset, and the sun of the old world was setting in a dying blaze of splendour never to be seen again.”

– Barbara W. Tuchman, The Guns of August

Alexander Aston: If you have not read Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August you should do so, it is one of the great, accessible works of history. Tuchman details with great clarity the diplomatic failures, miscalculations and political logics that ensnared the imperial powers of Europe into the cataclysm of the Great War. It was the book that Kennedy drew upon when navigating the Cuban missile crisis. Just over a century since the guns fell silent in Europe, and nearly fifty years since nuclear holocaust was averted, the world is teetering on what might very well be the largest regional, potentially global, conflict since the second world war.

The United States is a warfare economy, its primary export is violence and it is through violence that it creates the demand for its products. The markets of the Empire are the failed states, grinding civil conflicts, escalating regional tensions and human immiseration created by gun-boat diplomacy. In true entrepreneurial spirit, the United States has repeatedly overestimated its abilities to control the course of events and underestimated the complexities of a market predicated on violence. However, since the beginning of the twenty-first century the American Imperium has proven itself as incompetent as it is vicious. After nearly two decades of intensifying conflicts, a fundamentally broken global economy and a dysfunctional political system, Washington has turned feral, lashing out against decline.

The points of instability in the global system are various and growing, and the only geo-political logics that the Imperium appears to be operating under are threats, coercion, and violence. It is at this moment, with the most erratic president in the country’s history, surrounded by some of the most extreme neo-conservative voices, that the United States has been belligerently stumbling across the globe. In the past few months we have witnessed a surrealistic reimagining of the Latin American coup, the medieval melodrama of Canadian vassals taking a royal hostage from the Middle Kingdom and British buccaneers’ privateering off the coast of Gibraltar. The Imperial system is in a paroxysm of incoherent but sustained aggression.

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Saudi Coup Signals War And The New World Order Reset, by Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith’s long-predicted global economic reset may be underway, with Saudi Arabia moving out of the US, and the petrodollar, orbit. From Smith at alt-market.com:

For years now, I have been warning about the relationship of interdependency between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia and how this relationship, if ended, would mean disaster for the petrodollar system and by extension the dollar’s world reserve status. In my recent articles ‘Lies And Distractions Surrounding The Diminishing Petrodollar’ and ‘The Economic End Game Continues,’I point out that the death of the dollar as the premier petrocurrency is actually a primary goal for establishment globalists. Why? Because in an effort to achieve what they sometimes call the “global economic reset,” or the “new world order,” a more publicly accepted centralized global economy and monetary framework is paramount. And, this means the eventual implementation of a single world currency and a single global economic and political authority above and beyond the dollar system.

But, it is not enough to simply initiate such socially and fiscally painful changes in a vacuum. The banking powers are not interested in taking any blame for the suffering that would be dealt to the masses during the inevitable upheaval (or blame for the suffering that has already been caused). Therefore, a believable narrative must be crafted. A narrative in which political intrigue and geopolitical crisis make the “new world order” a NECESSITY; one that the general public would accept or even demand as a solution to existing instability and disaster.

That is to say, the globalists must fashion a propaganda story to be used in the future, in which “selfish” nation-states abused their sovereignty and created conditions for calamity, and the only solution was to end that sovereignty and place all power into the hands of a select few “wise and benevolent men” for the greater good of the world.

I believe the next phase of the global economic reset will begin in part with the breaking of petrodollar dominance. An important element of my analysis on the strategic shift away from the petrodollar has been the symbiosis between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has been the single most important key to the dollar remaining as the petrocurrency from the very beginning.

To continue reading: Saudi Coup Signals War And The New World Order Reset

The Secret Reason Trump Is So Cozy With Saudi Arabia, by Nick Giambruno

It all boils down to petrodollars and the reserve currency. From Nick Giambruno at internationalman.com:

As a candidate, Donald Trump used uncommonly harsh language to criticize Saudi Arabia—the world’s largest oil exporter.

He called the Saudi regime the world’s biggest funder of terrorism.

He also said the Saudi government uses “our petro dollars—our very own money—to fund the terrorists that seek to destroy our people, while the Saudis rely on us to protect them!”

At another point, Trump said, “Who blew up the World Trade Center? It wasn’t the Iraqis, it was Saudi [Arabia].”

Trump also criticized Hillary Clinton for taking Saudi money for the Clinton Foundation. (They were its biggest “donors.”) He even challenged her to return the money.

He also famously got into a Twitter spat with a prominent member of the Saudi royal family, Alwaleed bin Talal.

As a candidate, Trump blasted the Saudis countless other times.

But, after he took office, Trump did a complete 180. He stopped criticizing the Saudis. In fact, he’s now singing their praises.

It’s bizarre… as if someone put a severed horse head in his bed.

Mere months after criticizing the Saudis, he was on Air Force One headed to Saudi Arabia to do the sword dance with his new friends.

It was his first foreign trip as president.


President Trump with King Salman

Trump’s about face was astounding. But his newly adopted deference to the Saudis is no different than Obama’s, Baby Bush’s, or any previous president’s.


President Obama with King Abdullah


President G.W. Bush with King Abdullah

Today, I’ll tell you why Trump made such an abrupt turnaround. I’ll also explain why the Saudis get special treatment from the US Deep State.

To continue reading: The Secret Reason Trump Is So Cozy With Saudi Arabia

The Intrigue at the Heart of the Beijing-Riyadh-Washington Triangle, by Valentin Katasonov

China would like the Saudi Arabia to denominate its oil sales to China in yuan, the Chinese currency. That would undercut the petrodollar, greatly displeasing the US. Stay tuned to how this all turns out. From Valentin Katasonov at strategic-culture.org:

Saudi Aramco (the Saudi Arabian Oil Company) is the world’s largest petroleum business. It owns more than 100 oil and gas fields in Saudi Arabia with reserves of at least 264 billion barrels of oil, which is estimated to be approximately one-fourth of the world’s known reserves of this raw material. The company’s production figures do not give the full picture, as data exists only for a few years. But as an example, in 2013 Saudi Aramco produced 3.4 billion barrels of crude oil. Analysts calculate that every year the Saudi company extracts about twice as much oil and gas, in terms of barrels of oil equivalent, as the largest US company ExxonMobil. Interestingly, Saudi Aramco never appears in the rankings of the world’s largest oil producers, since it does not publish financial information such as profit, sales, assets, or market capitalization. Therefore America’s ExxonMobil and Chevron, China’s Sinopec and PetroChina, the Anglo-Dutch company Royal Dutch Shell, Great Britain’s BP, and France’s Total top the rankings. But everyone knows perfectly well that these leaders in the global oil industry are mere dwarfs compared to Saudi Aramco.

Saudi Aramco’s management set off a real bomb in early 2016 when they announced their plans to privatize part of the company through a stock market IPO. The proposal was to sell shares in Saudi Aramco equal to about 5% of the company. But an estimate of the company’s potential market price is needed in order to understand how much this would be in absolute terms. Almost the next day after the announcement of the potential sale of part of the company (in January 2016), the global media published a stunning evaluation by the independent oil analyst Mohammad Al Sabban, a former senior adviser to the Saudi Arabian oil ministry. He estimated the company’s worth at $10,000,000,000,000 (ten trillion USD). For comparison I should add that in 2016 the largest US oil company, ExxonMobil, barely exceeded $350 billion in share capital. And yes, It’s true that later on some of the hype in the assessments died down and more rational numbers were cited, most often $2 trillion. This meant that Saudi Arabia would be able to rake in approximately $100 billion from the sale of 5% of the company. But the company’s biggest trump card isn’t even the current record levels of oil production, but rather the reserves of hydrocarbon raw materials at Saudi Aramco’s disposal. And that’s a number that none of the companies named in the rankings of the global oil industry can even begin to approach.

To continue reading: The Intrigue at the Heart of the Beijing-Riyadh-Washington Triangle

China’s rise, America’s fall, by Golem XIV

Will a Chinese-led move away from the petrodollar also mean a change in the relative positions of US and China? From Golem XIV at golemxiv.co.uk:

Will the rise of China mean the fall of America?  In a word, yes. Although decline might be more accurate.

Why do I think this?  Because China is about to launch the PetroYuan and when it does the demand for dollars and for dollar denominated debt will shrink. When it does, I question whether the world will be so sanguine about the level of debt that America carries. If that happens then the value of the dollar is in question.

At the moment no matter what level of debt America carries, other countries need dollars. Dollars to pay for oil, since oil is traded in dollars.  Dollars for their financial system so their banks can settle contracts for goods and services traded in dollars.

But over the last few years China has been systematically putting in place everything it needs to launch the Yuan as not only a rival to the dollar in trading and settling oil contracts but as a rival to the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.  At the moment the only rival to the dollar is the Euro. I think it fair to say the relationship between the two currencies and their issuing powers, has been… ‘delicate’.  The news that Sadam Hussein was going to start trading his oil in Euros came just a few months before America and its lap dog GB, decided Sadam was a threat to world peace and went to war with him.  Something similar happened to Colonel Qaddafi.

Under Qaddafi Libya’s currency was backed by the country’s large holdings of gold and silver. This had allowed Qaddafi to finance, for example, the entire construction of the Great Man Made River without going to Western banks for a single loan. Libya was debt free and owned its own resources and infrastructure. Obviously a very unsatisfactory state of affairs for any third world country to get ideas so far above their station.  Worse, he had a very public plan which he had laid before the Pan African Congress, to create a pan African currency backed by gold and silver to be launched by 2023. It was not too long before Hilary Clinton arrived in a freshly bombed Libya and crowed to CBS, “We came, we saw, he died.” Charming woman. I was only surprised she didn’t say “Mission accomplished.”

To continue reading: China’s rise, America’s fall

 

The Death Of Petrodollars and The Coming Renaissance Of Macro Investing, by John Curran

Remember two-way markets? They seem like a thing of the past, but John Curran says not so fast. From Curran at Barron’s via zerohedge.com:

The petrodollar system is being undermined by exponential growth in technology and shifting geopolitics. What comes next is a paradigm shift

In the summer of 1974, Treasury Secretary William Simon traveled to Saudi Arabia and secretly struck a momentous deal with the kingdom. The U.S. agreed to purchase oil from Saudi Arabia, provide weapons, and in essence guarantee the preservation of Saudi oil wells, the monarchy, and the sovereignty of the kingdom. In return, the kingdom agreed to invest the dollar proceeds of its oil sales in U.S. Treasuries, basically financing America’s future federal expenditures.

Soon, other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries followed suit, and the U.S. dollar became the standard by which oil was to be traded internationally. For Saudi Arabia, the deal made perfect sense, not only by protecting the regime but also by providing a safe, liquid market in which to invest its enormous oil-sale proceeds, known as petrodollars. The U.S. benefited, as well, by neutralizing oil as an economic weapon. The agreement enabled the U.S. to print dollars with little adverse effect on interest rates, thereby facilitating consistent U.S. economic growth over the subsequent decades.

An important consequence was that oil-importing nations would be required to hold large amounts of U.S. dollars in reserve in order to purchase oil, underpinning dollar demand. This essentially guaranteed a strong dollar and low U.S. interest rates for a generation.

To continue reading: The Death Of Petrodollars and The Coming Renaissance Of Macro Investing

Challenging the Dollar: China and Russia’s Plan from Petroyuan to Gold, by Federico Pieraccini

The second in a three part series about the fall of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency and the decline of the American empire (Part One link). From Federico Pieraccini at strategic-culture.org:

As seen in my previous article, US military power is on the decline, and the effects are palpable. In a world full of conflicts brought on by Washington, the economic and financial shifts that are occurring are for many countries a long-awaited and welcome development.

If we were to identify what uniquely fuels American imperialism and its aspirations for global hegemony, the role of the US dollar would figure prominently. An exploration of the depth of the dollar’s effects on the world economy is therefore necessary in order to understand the consequential geopolitical developments that have occurred over the last few decades.

The reason the dollar plays such an important role in the world economy is due to the following three major factors: the petrodollar; the dollar as world reserve currency; and Nixon’s decision in 1971 to no longer make the dollar convertible into gold. As is easy to guess, the petrodollar strongly influenced the composition of the SDR basket, making the dollar the world reserve currency, spelling grave implications for the global economy due to Nixon’s decision to eliminate the dollar’s convertibility into gold. Most of the problems for the rest of the world began from a combination of these three factors.

Dollar-Petrodollar-Gold

The largest geo-economic change in the last fifty years was arguably implemented in 1973 with the agreement between OPEC, Saudi Arabia and the United States to sell oil exclusively in dollars.

Specifically, Nixon arranged with Saudi King Faisal for Saudis to only accept dollars as a payment for oil and related investments, recycling billions of excess dollars into US treasury bills and other dollar-based financial resources. In exchange, Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries came under American military protection. It reminds one of a mafia-style arrangement: the Saudis are obliged to conduct business in US dollars according to terms and conditions set by the US with little argument, and in exchange they receive generous protection.

To continue reading: Challenging the Dollar: China and Russia’s Plan from Petroyuan to Gold

 

Cracks in Dollar Are Getting Larger, by Jim Rickards

Slowly but surely, the world is moving away from the dollar as the reserve currency. From Jim Rickards at dailyreckoning.com:

Many Daily Reckoning readers are familiar with the original petrodollar deal the U.S made with Saudi Arabia.

It was set up by Henry Kissinger and Saudi princes in 1974 to prop up the U.S. dollar. At the time, confidence in the dollar was on shaky ground because President Nixon had ended gold convertibility of dollars in 1971.

Saudi Arabia was receiving dollars for their oil shipments, but they could no longer convert the dollars to gold at a guaranteed price directly with the U.S. Treasury. The Saudis were secretly dumping dollars and buying gold on the London market. This was putting pressure on the bullion banks receiving the dollar.

Confidence in the dollar began to crack. Henry Kissinger and Treasury Secretary William Simon worked out a plan. If the Saudis would price oil in dollars, U.S. banks would hold the dollar deposits for the Saudis.

These dollars would be “recycled” to developing economy borrowers, who in turn would buy manufactured goods from the U.S. and Europe. This would help the global economy and help the U.S. maintain price stability. The Saudis would get more customers and a stable dollar, and the U.S. would force the world to accept dollars because everyone would need the dollars to buy oil.

Behind this “deal” was a not so subtle threat to invade Saudi Arabia and take the oil by force. I personally discussed these invasion plans in the White House with Kissinger’s deputy, Helmut Sonnenfeldt, at the time. The petrodollar plan worked brilliantly and the invasion never happened.

Now, 43 years later, the wheels are coming off. The world is losing confidence in the dollar again. China just announced that any oil-exporter that accepts yuan for oil can convert the oil to gold on the Shanghai Gold Exchange and hedge the hard currency value of the gold on the Shanghai Futures Exchange.

The deal has several parts, which together spell dollar doom. The first part is that China will buy oil from Russia and Iran in exchange for yuan.

The yuan is not a major reserve currency, so it’s not an especially attractive asset for Russia or Iran to hold. China solves that problem by offering to convert yuan into gold on a spot basis on the Shanghai Gold Exchange.

This straight-through processing of oil-to-yuan-to-gold eliminates the role of the dollar.

To continue reading: Cracks in Dollar Are Getting Larger

 

 

Petrodollar Under Attack, by Darius Shahtahmasebi

Many countries not in the US orbit are trying to move away from dollarization of the petroleum trade. From  Darius Shahtahmasebi at theantimedia.org:

Once upon a time, the U.S. dollar was backed by the gold standard in a framework that established what was known as the Bretton-Woods agreement, made in 1944. The dollar was fixed to gold at a price of $35 an ounce, though the dollar could earn interest, marking one notable difference from gold.

The system ended up being short-lived, as President Richard Nixon announced that the U.S. would be abandoning the gold standard in 1971. Instead, the U.S. had other plans for the future of global markets.

As the Huffington Post has explained, the Nixon Administration reached a deal with Saudi Arabia:

“The essence of the deal was that the U.S. would agree to military sales and defense of Saudi Arabia in return for all oil trade being denominated in U.S. dollars.”

This system became known as the Petrodollar Recycling system because countries like Saudi Arabia would have to invest excess profits back into the U.S. It didn’t take long for every single member of OPEC to start trading oil in U.S. dollars.

A little-known economic theory, rejected by the mainstream, stipulates that Washington’s stranglehold over financial markets can be at least partially explained by the fact that all oil exports are conducted in transactions involving the U.S. dollar. This relationship between oil and currency arguably gives the dollar its value, as this paradigm requires all exporting and importing countries to maintain a certain stock of U.S. dollars, adding to the dollar’s value. As Foreign Policy – a magazine that rejects the theory – explains:

“It does matter slightly that the trade typically takes place in dollars. This means that those wishing to buy oil must acquire dollars to buy the oil, which increases the demand for dollars in world financial markets.”

The term “those wishing to buy oil” encompasses almost every single country that does not have an oil supply of its own – hardly a trivial number. An endless demand for dollars means an endless supply, and the United States can print as much paper as it wants to account for its imperial ambitions. No other country in the world can do this.

To continue reading: Petrodollar Under Attack

 

Donald Trump, Saudi Arabia, and the Petrodollar, by Nick Giambruno

The petrodollar has been the anchor of the world’s dollar-reserve currency system since Nixon abandoned the last vestige of the gold standard in 1971. It has also been a huge boon for the US, and abandonment of it will make it much harder for Americans to live beyond their means. From Nick Giambruno at internationalman.com:

Obama pulled out his veto pen 12 times during his presidency.

Congress only overrode him once…

In late 2016, Obama vetoed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA). The bill would allow 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in US courts.

With only months left in office, Obama wasn’t worried about the political price of opposing the bill. It was worth protecting Saudi Arabia and the petrodollar system, which underpins the US dollar’s role as the world’s premier currency.

Congress didn’t see it that way though. Those up for reelection couldn’t afford to side with Saudi Arabia over US victims. So Congress voted to override Obama’s veto, and JASTA became the law of the land.

The Saudis, quite correctly, see this as a huge threat. If they can be sued in US courts, their vast holdings of US assets are at risk of being frozen or seized.

The Saudi foreign minister promptly threatened to sell all of the country’s US assets.

Basically, Saudi Arabia was threatening to rip up the petrodollar arrangement, which underpins the US dollar’s role as the world’s premier currency.

Donald Trump and the Saudis

Unlike every president since the petrodollar’s birth, Donald Trump is openly hostile to Saudi Arabia.

Recently he put this out on Twitter:

Dopey Prince @Alwaleed_Talal wants to control our U.S. politicians with daddy’s money. Can’t do it when I get elected.

The dopey prince that Trump is referring to is Al-Waleed bin Talal, a prominent member of the Saudi royal family. He’s also one of the largest foreign investors in the US economy, particularly in media and financial companies.

The Saudis openly backed Hillary during the election. In fact, they “donated” an estimated $10 million–$25 million to the Clinton Foundation, making them the most generous foreign donors.

To continue reading: Donald Trump, Saudi Arabia, and the Petrodollar