Tag Archives: Reserve Currency

The US, China, and the Geopolitical Battle for Monetary Dominance, by Nick Giambruno

Traditionally the world’s strongest power has the world’s reserve currency. From Nick Giambruno at internationalman.com:

Geopolitical Battle for Monetary Dominance

International Man: In a recent interview, we discussed the battle for monetary supremacy between fiat, bitcoin, and gold—but in the geopolitical sense, the country with the “best” money ultimately imposes its dominance on others.

Today, the US dollar is still the global reserve currency, but the US fiscal and monetary policy now resembles the destructive money printing of every other country.

What does this mean for the US and its financial chokehold on the rest of the world?

Nick Giambruno: First, I think it’s important to clarify something.

You often hear the media, politicians, and financial analysts toss around the word trillion without appreciating what it really means.

A trillion is an enormous, almost incomprehensible number.

The human mind has trouble wrapping itself around something so big. So let me try to put it into perspective.

One million seconds ago was about 11 days ago.

One billion seconds ago was 1989.

One trillion seconds ago was 30,000 BC.

So that’s how big a trillion is.

When politicians carelessly spend and print money in the trillions, you know you’re in dangerous territory. That’s precisely what is happening in the US right now.

After the onset of the COVID hysteria, the US government adopted a policy of printing money to finance growing multi-trillion-dollar deficits forever. This is what Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is all about, and it’s already here.

Likewise, the COVID stimulus checks are the beginnings of a Universal Basic Income (UBI). There is no way any politician will ever be able to roll them back, much less stop them entirely. Who is going to beat Santa Claus in an election?

By embracing MMT and a UBI, the US has embarked on the most dangerous economic experiment since communism.

Eventually, all this spending financed by money printing will destroy the currency.

This is precisely the same problem that has trapped Argentina in a perpetual cycle of hyperinflation and economic collapse. And even then, it’s politically impossible to get rid of the freebies, so the process starts up again.

Here’s the bottom line. With MMT and a UBI, the US has gone beyond the monetary point of no return.

That’s why individuals, companies, and foreign governments will inevitably look to alternatives to the US dollar and financial system. As they do, a large part of the US government’s geopolitical leverage will evaporate.

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This is bigger than Covid. But few people are paying attention. By Simon Black

Chinese-US relations may be far more important for Americans than Covid-19. From Simon Black at sovereignman.com:

Most people realize that 2020 has thrust two game-changing trends upon us that will change the world for years to come.

The first is Covid.

In less than six months, this virus has created extreme global hysteria and economic devastation.

Countless businesses have gone bust or are teetering on the edge. Tens of millions of jobs have been lost.

Government debt around the world has exploded higher. And their heavy-handed abuse of power has been astonishing… often incomprehensible.

Politicians and public health officials have suspended many of our most fundamental freedoms, threatened to come into our homes and take our family members away, and even banished us from our own private properties.

We’ve also seen a breakdown in basic social conventions.

Family and friends have stopped gathering together in person out of fear that someone may be a carrier. Weddings and funerals are virtual. And a simple handshake is practically considered an act of biological terrorism.

And, just like 9/11 nearly two decades ago, many effects of Covid will never return to ‘normal’.

Then there’s the social justice movement… which tore onto the world stage two months ago with a desire to make important cultural changes.

At its core, the movement is virtuous. After all, it’s supposed to be about freedom.

But it has quickly become divisive, menacing, and pointlessly violent.

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Let’s Talk Privilege…. by Mark E. Jeftovic

The title may make it look like this is an article about race, but it’s not. From Mark E. Jeftovic at outofthecave.io:

After the 9/11 terror attacks, when our privacies were permanently revoked, and we entered into “a war which would never end in our lifetimes”, Bush II proclaimed “They hate us because of our freedoms”.

Some critics thought that was an almost nonsensical statement to make, while the credulous took it at face value. It framed whoever perpetrated the attacks as some inhuman “other” that despised happiness itself. It was unthinkable anybody could have an actual foreign-policy derived reason for doing it, and anybody who suggested as much was usually hounded out of the public eye.

However I always thought that utterance did have a kernel of truth to it. If you looked at the United States as a global empire, and that the freedoms “they” hated were not actually the ones to assemble, or worship or to vote, as Bush intimated, but rather the ones where America acted unilaterally in its own interest observing American Exceptionalism as a type of infallible axiom, then Bush would have been closer to the substance of the matter.

Here was world hegemon who claimed the freedom to overthrow governments, the freedom to bomb or invade any country it pleased, the freedom to support brutal dictators, assassinate enemies, interfere in elections and basically do whatever it wanted. Seen in that light, then yes, the 9/11 attackers did hate our “freedoms”.

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A collapsing dollar and China’s monetary strategy, by Alasdair Macleod

It’s not currently in China’s interest to destroy the dollar (US authorities are doing a fine job of that on their own) but when the final destruction occurs, a Chinese gold-backed yuan could supplant the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. From Alasdair Macleod at goldmoney.com:

This article describes how China can escape the fate of a dollar collapse by tying the yuan to gold. There is little doubt she has access to sufficient gold. Currently, her interest is to preserve the dollar, not destroy it, because it is the principal means of Chinese foreign interests being secured .

Furthermore, a return to sound money requires China to reverse its interventionism under Xi, returning to Deng Xiaoping’s original vision. Sound money can only last if the relationship between the state and the wider economy is properly addressed.

Of all the major economies, China’s is best placed to implement a sound money solution. At the moment it seems unlikely the necessary reforms will be forthcoming; but a general collapse of the global fiat currency regime presents the opportunity for reassessment and change.

Introduction

In last week’s Insight I examined the position of the US dollar, given the Fed’s current monetary policies, and concluded that the Fed’s dollar is likely to become valueless by the end of this year. The consequences for other major currencies — the euro, yen and pound — are that they are likely to fall with the dollar. This is because they adopt the same monetary policies, the same macroeconomic fallacies, and through the Bank for International Settlements, G7 and G20 meetings agree to continue to be bound by common policies. While the intention is for all to survive by working together, instead it ensures that they all sink together.

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Revolutionary Times and Systemic Collapse – “The System Cannot Handle It”, by Alastair Crooke

After system overload comes chaos, the betting favorite at SLL for a long time. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

Some have queried how it could be that President Putin would co-operate with President Trump to have OPEC+ push oil prices higher – when those higher prices precisely would only help sustain U.S. oil production. In effect, President Putin was being asked to underwrite a subsidy to the U.S. economy – at the expense of Russia’s own oil and gas sales – since U.S. shale production simply is not economic at these prices. In other words, Russia seemed to be shooting itself in the foot.

Well, the calculus for Moscow on whether to cut production (to help Trump) was never simple. There were geo-political and domestic economic considerations – as well as the industry ones – to weigh. But, perhaps one issue trumped all others?

Since 2007, President Putin has been pointing to one overarching threat to global trade: And that problem was simply, the U.S. dollar.

And now, that dollar is in crisis. We are referring, here, not so much to America’s domestic financial crisis (although the monetisation of U.S. debt is connected to threat to the global system), but rather, how the international trading system is poised to blow apart, with grave consequences for everyone.

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Nixon Shock, the Reserve Currency Curse, and a Pending Dollar Crisis, by Mish Shedlock

When Nixon closed the gold window in 1971, he opened a Pandora’s box of economic evils. From Mish Shedlock at moneymaven.io:

Many problems today including deficit spending, trade deficits, and income inequality have their roots in 1971.

Nixon Shock

A reader asks “What Forced Nixon to Close the Gold Window in 1971?”

The answer is called “Nixon Shock“.

Nixon wanted to fight the war in Vietnam, not raise taxes, and not hike interest rates to finance it.

Arthur Burns, not Volcker was at the Fed.

American economist Barry Eichengreen summarized: “It costs only a few cents for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to produce a $100 bill, but other countries had to pony up $100 of actual goods in order to obtain one”.

Vietnam War and the Dollar Exodus Beginning

The dollar exodus had its beginnings way back in February 1965 when President Charles de Gaulle announced his intention to exchange its U.S. dollar reserves for gold at the official exchange rate of $35 per ounce.

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De-Dollarization: Europe Joins the Party, by Ronald-Peter Stöferle

De-dollarization will be a slow, incremental process, unless some sort of crisis hastens it along. From Ronald-Peter Stöferle at mises.org:

The ongoing “World War of Currencies”, as the German journalist Daniel D. Eckert called it, the battle for the future of the world monetary system is not a shallow action film but more like Game of Thrones – a complex series with hundreds of actors and locations, stretching over decades and demanding full concentration from the viewer.

The bottom line is that what has been true for decades still applies. The US dollar continues to enjoy the confidence of markets, governments, and central banks. But faith in the US dollar weakens a little every year. Europe, China, Russia and many small countries set new initiatives every year to make themselves independent. And gold, too, plays a major role in this slow departure from the US dollar. But for the world financial system, none of their currencies offer a viable, fully-fledged alternative to the US dollar yet, which is why any news of the death of the US dollar is definitely exaggerated.

Europe’s Small Uprising

Since the Greek crisis of 2012, the American media have often given the impression that the EU and the euro have already broken up or are about to break up. This is not the case. Twenty years after its creation in 1999, the euro area is larger than ever. Of course, nothing is perfect in the EU. The debt problems of the southern states have hardly improved. The structure of the euro zone itself is also often criticized and described as being in need of renovation.

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Goodbye Dollar, It Was Nice Knowing You! by Philip Giraldi

The rest of the world is chipping away at the US dollar’s status as the reserve currency. From Philip Giraldi at strategic-culture.org:

Over the past two years, the White House has initiated trade disputes, insulted allies and enemies alike, and withdrawn from or refused to ratify multinational treaties and agreements. It has also expanded the reach of its unilaterally imposed rules, forcing other nations to abide by its demands or face economic sanctions. While the stated Trump Administration intention has been to enter into new arrangements more favorable to the United States, the end result has been quite different, creating a broad consensus within the international community that Washington is unstable, not a reliable partner and cannot be trusted. This sentiment has, in turn, resulted in conversations among foreign governments regarding how to circumvent the American banking system, which is the primary offensive weapon apart from dropping bombs that Washington has to force compliance with its dictates.

Consequently, there has been considerable blowback from the Make America Great Again campaign, particularly as the flip side of the coin appears to be that the “greatness” will be obtained by making everyone else less great. The only country in the world that currently regards the United States favorably is Israel, which certainly has good reason to do so given the largesse that has come from the Trump Administration. Everyone else is keen to get out from under the American heel.

Well the worm has finally turned, maybe. Even the feckless Angela Merkel’s Germany now understands that national interests must prevail when the United States is demanding that it do the unspeakable. At the recently concluded G20 meeting in Tokyo Britain, France and Germany announced that the special trade mechanism that they have been working on this year is now up and running. It is called the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (Instex) and it will permit companies in Europe to do business with countries like Iran, avoiding American sanctions by trading outside the SWIFT system, which is dollar denominated and de facto controlled by the US Treasury.

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Dollar Hegemony, Again, by Michael Doliner

Having the world’s reserve currency has allowed the US to amass a gargantuan debt. The debt won’t be paid with anything but hyperinflated dollars, and the dollar will lose its reserve currency status. From Michael Doliner at counterpunch.org:

The United States Entity lost the war in Iraq. That fact determines the Entity’s position in the Middle East today. After having destroyed Saddam’s army and dispossessing the Sunnis in favor of the Shi’ites, after Abu Ghraib and it’s indelible pictures, after the total destruction of Fallujah, in short after a victory achieved with the utmost brutality, contempt and humiliation of Iraq and Iraqis, the Entity was in charge. Then the “insurgents” appeared. They put improvised explosive devices along the roads so, with a phone call, they could destroy patrols of the Entity. They made car bombs so that every vehicle approaching a check-point might spell doom. They donned suicide vests to blow themselves and any nearby Entity soldiers up. Entity soldiers couldn’t go into the streets. Every move they made could be their last. The enemy was everywhere and nowhere. These people would rather die then be ruled by these idiotic mechanized barbarians. Everything seemed peaceful, but at any moment, out of nowhere, they could be blown to pieces. That kind of thing wears on you. Their patrols, pointless bouts of Russian roulette, ended up as parked “search and avoid” missions. Life went on without the clanking monsters. Entity bases were like Kaposi sarcoma in AIDS patients. The Entity’s attempts at reconstruction were comically inept – roads to nowhere and chicken processing plants for chickens no one wanted. In short the Entity’s occupation of Iraq after the victory, other than being a disaster of comical incompetence, was non-existent. Muqtada Al-Sadr, the Shi’ite cleric, had much more power than the Entity. Eventually Iraq rejected the Entity’s status of forces agreement (SOFA). In other words the Iraqi puppets the Entity had installed unceremoniously kicked the Entity out of the country.

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The Tyranny of the U.S. Dollar, by Peter Coy

The world sends us goods, we send the world pieces of paper (or computer entries). Sounds like a good deal for the US. It is, but it may be coming to a close. From Peter Coy at bloomberg.com:

The incumbent international currency has been American for decades. Is it time for regime change?

There’s a paradox at the heart of global finance. The U.S. share of the world economy has drifted lower for decades, and now President Trump is retreating from the American chief executive’s traditional role as Leader of the Free World. Yet the U.S. dollar remains, as the saying goes, almighty. “American exceptionalism has never been this stark,” Ruchir Sharma, head of emerging markets and chief global strategist for Morgan Stanley Investment Management, said at a Council on Foreign Relations symposium on Sept. 24.

By the latest tally of the European Central Bank, America’s currency makes up two-thirds of international debt and a like share of global reserve holdings. Oil and gold are priced in dollars, not euros or yen. When Somali pirates hold up ships at sea, it’s dollars they demand. And threats to be cut off from the dollar-based global payments system strike terror into the likes of Iran, North Korea, and Russia. It’s no exaggeration to say that the dollar’s primacy is at least as valuable to the U.S. as a couple of aircraft carrier strike groups.

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