The death of the dollar is coming, and it will probably be China that pulls the trigger. What you are about to read is understood by only a very small fraction of all Americans. Right now, the U.S. dollar is the de facto reserve currency of the planet. Most global trade is conducted in U.S. dollars, and almost all oil is sold for U.S. dollars. More than 60 percent of all global foreign exchange reserves are held in U.S. dollars, and far more U.S. dollars are actually used outside of the United States than inside of it. As will be described below, this has given the United States some tremendous economic advantages, and most Americans have no idea how much their current standard of living depends on the dollar remaining the reserve currency of the world. Unfortunately, thanks to reckless money printing by the Federal Reserve and the reckless accumulation of debt by the federal government, the status of the dollar as the reserve currency of the world is now in great jeopardy.
As I mentioned above, nations all over the globe use U.S. dollars to trade with one another. This has created tremendous demand for U.S. dollars and has kept the value of the dollar up. It also means that Americans can import things that they need much more inexpensively than they otherwise would be able to.
The largest exporting nations such as Saudi Arabia (oil) and China (cheap plastic trinkets at Wal-Mart) end up with massive piles of U.S. dollars…
Instead of just sitting on all of that cash, these exporting nations often reinvest much of that cash into low risk securities that can be rapidly turned back into dollars if necessary. For a very long time, U.S. Treasury bonds have been considered to be the perfect way to do this. This has created tremendous demand for U.S. government debt and has helped keep interest rates super low. So every year, massive amounts of money that gets sent out of the country ends up being loaned back to the U.S. Treasury at super low interest rates…
And it has been a very good thing for the U.S. economy that the federal government has been able to borrow money so cheaply, because the interest rate on 10 year U.S. Treasuries affects thousands upon thousands of other interest rates throughout our financial system. For example, as the rate on 10 year U.S. Treasuries has risen in recent months, so have the rates on U.S. home mortgages.
Our entire way of life in the United States depends upon this game continuing. We must have the rest of the world use our currency and loan it back to us at ultra low interest rates. At this point we have painted ourselves into a corner by accumulating so much debt. We simply cannot afford to have rates rise significantly.
For example, if the average rate of interest on U.S. government debt rose to just 6 percent (and it has been much higher than that at various times in the past), we would be paying more than a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt.
But it wouldn’t be just the federal government that would suffer. Just consider what higher rates would do to the real estate market.
About a year ago, the rate on 30 year mortgages was sitting at 3.31 percent. The monthly payment on a 30 year, $300,000 mortgage at that rate is $1315.52.
If the 30 year rate rises to 8 percent, the monthly payment on a 30 year, $300,000 mortgage would be $2201.29.
Does 8 percent sound crazy to you?
It shouldn’t. 8 percent was considered to be normal back in the year 2000.
Are you starting to get the picture?
We need other countries to use our dollars and buy our debt so that we can have super low interest rates and so that we can afford to buy lots of cheap stuff from them.
Unfortunately, the truly bizarre behavior of the Federal Reserve and the U.S. government over the past several years is causing the rest of the world to lose faith in our currency. In particular, China is leading the call for a “de-Americanized” world. The following is from a recent article posted on the website of France 24…
For decades the US has benefited to the tune of trillions of dollars-worth of free credit from the greenback’s role as the default global reserve unit.
But as the global economy trembled before the prospect of a US default last month, only averted when Washington reached a deal to raise its debt ceiling, China’s official Xinhua news agency called for a “de-Americanised” world.
It also urged the creation of a “new international reserve currency… to replace the dominant US dollar”.
So why should the rest of the planet listen to China?
Well, China now accounts for more global trade than anyone else does, including the United States.
China is also now the number one importer of oil in the world.
At this point, China is even importing more oil from Saudi Arabia than the United States is.
China now has an enormous amount of economic power globally, and the Chinese want the rest of the planet to start using less U.S. dollars and to start using more of their own currency. The following is from a recent article in the Vancouver Sun…
Three years after China allowed the yuan to start trading in Hong Kong’s offshore market, banks and investors around the world are positioning themselves to get involved in what Nomura Holdings Inc. calls the biggest revolution in the $5.3 trillion currency market since the creation of the euro in 1999.
And over the past few years we have seen the global use of the yuan rise dramatically…
International use of the yuan is increasing as the world’s second-largest economy opens up its capital markets. In the first nine months of this year, about 17 percent of China’s global trade was settled in the currency, compared with less than one percent in 2009, according to Deutsche Bank AG.
Of course the U.S. dollar is still king for now, but thanks to a whole host of recent international currency agreements this status is slipping. For example, China just recently signed a major currency agreement with the European Central Bank…
The swap deal will allow more trade and investment between the regions to be conducted in euros and yuan, without having to convert into another currency such as the U.S. dollar first, said Kathleen Brooks, a research director at FOREX.com.
“It’s a way of promoting European and Chinese trade, but not doing it with the U.S. dollar,” said Brooks. “It’s a bit like cutting out the middleman, all of a sudden there’s potentially no U.S. dollar risk.”
And as I have written about previously, we have seen a bunch of other similar agreements being signed all over the planet in recent years…
1. China and Germany (See Here)
2. China and Russia (See Here)
3. China and Brazil (See Here)
4. China and Australia (See Here)
5. China and Japan (See Here)
6. India and Japan (See Here)
7. Iran and Russia (See Here)
8. China and Chile (See Here)
9. China and the United Arab Emirates (See Here)
10. China, Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa (See Here)
But do you hear about any of this on the mainstream news?
Of course not.
They would rather focus on the latest celebrity scandal.
Right now, the global move away from the U.S. dollar is slow but steady.
At some point, some trigger event will likely cause it to become a stampede.
When that happens, demand for U.S. dollars and U.S. debt will disintegrate and interest rates will absolutely skyrocket.
And if interest rates skyrocket that will throw the entire U.S. financial system into chaos. At the moment, there are about 441 trillion dollars worth of interest rate derivatives sitting out there. It is a financial time bomb unlike anything the world has ever seen before.
There are four “too big to fail” banks in the United States that each have more than 40 trillion dollars worth of total exposure to derivatives. The largest chunk of those derivatives is made up of interest rate derivatives. In case you were wondering , those four banks are JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs.
A huge upward surge in interest rates would absolutely devastate those banks and cause a financial crisis that would make 2008 look like a Sunday picnic.
Right now, the leader in global trade seems content to use U.S. dollars for most of their international transactions. China also seems content to hold more than a trillion dollars of U.S. government debt.
If that suddenly changes someday, the consequences for the U.S. economy will be absolutely catastrophic and every single American will feel the pain.
The standard of living that all of us are enjoying today depends largely upon China. They can bring down the hammer at any moment and they know it.
What in the world is China up to? Why are the Chinese hoarding so much gold? Does China plan to back the yuan with gold and turn it into a global reserve currency? Could it be possible that China actually intends for the yuan to eventually replace the U.S. dollar as the primary reserve currency of the planet? Most people in the western world assume that China just wants a “seat at the table” and is content to let the United States run the show. But that isn’t the case at all. The truth is that China doesn’t just want to compete with the United States. Rather, China actually plans to replace the United States as the dominant economic power on the planet. In fact, China already accounts for more global trade than the United States does. So what would happen one day if China announced that it was backing the yuan with gold and that it would no longer be using the U.S. dollar in international trade? It would cause a financial shift so cataclysmic that it is hard to even imagine. Most of those that write about the “death of the U.S. dollar” usually fail to point out that China is holding a lot of the cards as far as the fate of the dollar is concerned. China owns about a trillion dollars of our debt, China is the second largest economy on the planet, and nobody uses the dollar in international trade more than China does except for the United States. Up until now, China has had to use the U.S. dollar in international trade because there has not been an attractive alternative. But a gold-backed yuan would change all of that very rapidly.
And without a doubt, the Chinese government has already been very busy promoting the use of the yuan in international trade. In a recent note, John McCormick of RBS Group stated the following…
Financial crises in the US and Europe mean the world needs a new, more stable global reserve currency, and trade in RMB is growing rapidly. In the FX market, for example, our figures show that volumes are now worth around USD 5-6 billion daily – double what they were a year ago.
A number of factors suggest that the Chinese authorities want to make RMB internationalisation happen by 2015.
For China, having a global reserve currency is not just about economics. It is also about power.
McCormick ended his recent note this way…
China’s new leadership faces a number of problems. The country’s economy is slowing and, although we would expect the rate of GDP growth to pick up a little, it is unlikely to be a steep rebound.
But promoting RMB as a global reserve currency, with all the economic benefits that will bring in addition to exerting more political influence on the global stage, clearly remains high on their agenda.
Similar sentiments were echoed in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal…
Beijing is undertaking a long, gradual campaign to establish the yuan as a more market-oriented, international currency. China’s State Council, or cabinet, said in a statement this month that the country would draft a plan to allow the yuan to become fully convertible. Meanwhile, the People’s Bank of China is guiding the currency higher and set the median point of its permitted daily trading band last week at the strongest level ever.
We don’t hear much about these sorts of things in the western media, but the convertibility of the Chinese yuan is a very big deal. Up until recently, the yuan was only directly convertible into dollars and yen. But now that is rapidly changing. So far this year, the Chinese government has entered into currency convertibility agreements with Australia and New Zealand.
So instead of having to change yuan into U.S. dollars to trade with Australia and New Zealand, now China can cut U.S. dollars completely out of the process.
But right now there is nothing that really gives the Chinese yuan a significant competitive edge over the U.S. dollar. If Chinese authorities truly want the yuan to end up replacing the U.S. dollar as the primary reserve currency of the planet, they need to do something that will make the rest of the world want to use it.
And they could do that by backing the yuan with gold. In fact, there are persistent rumors that China has been busily preparing for that.
For example, the Economic Policy Journal recently pointed out that Dr. Pippa Malmgren, the President and founder of Principalis Asset Management who once worked in the White House as an adviser to President Bush, is claiming that China has plans to turn the yuan into “a hard, gold-backed currency” that will have a distinct competitive edge over the rapidly depreciating paper currencies that the rest of the globe is currently using…
The most interesting piece of the puzzle is that the Chinese have emerged as the biggest buyers of gold, mainly off-market. They want the yuan to emerge as a hard, gold-backed currency in a world where everyone else has chosen to inflate and devalue.
The recent bilateral currency deals with Australia, France, Russia and Singapore, and many others, reflect this desire to displace the USD as the world’s reserve currency.
It may be an interesting and long race between the Chinese reaching for convertibility and the Western central banks straining credibility.
Other analysts are also fully convinced that the goal of the Chinese is a gold-backed yuan. The following is what money manager Stephen Leeb told King World News recently…
Countries have been battling each other in order to cheapen their currencies. The problem with a cheaper currency is that commodities cost more. So China has decided to opt for a higher currency.
The move in the yuan overnight was one of the most significant upticks I have seen. Like I said, the yuan moved to an all-time high. The yuan has advanced roughly 5% against the US dollar in just nine months. China also imported over 200 tons of gold for the most recent month. That is an extraordinary number. At that rate that’s over 2,400 tons of gold per year on an annualized basis.
This simply speeds up the point at which China will be the largest gold holder in the world. China saw gold come down and they didn’t just buy on the dip, instead they bought as much as the market would give them. And, again, you see the yuan going up so that is making the price of gold even cheaper for the Chinese.
It’s only a matter of time before the Chinese back the yuan with gold. This will push the yuan front and center as a key element in terms of being part of the world’s reserve currency basket. China gets the message. They are doing whatever it takes to establish their dominance in the world, particularly in the commodity arena. Their currency is flying and they are importing as much gold as they possibly can.
And without a doubt, China has been hoarding massive amounts of gold. Everyone agrees on that. But what nobody knows is exactly how much gold China currently has stockpiled, because China is not telling anybody.
One recent estimate put China’s gold reserves at more than 7,000 tons of gold, but it could potentially be far higher than that. When China does finally tell the rest of us how much gold they have, they will probably be just a move or two away from checkmate.
What we do know is that China is importing absolutely enormous amounts of gold right now even though China is also the number one gold producer on the planet.
According to Reuters, more than 223 tons of gold was imported into China from Hong Kong in March. That smashed the previous record of 114 tons in December.
Overall, Chinese imports of gold from Hong Kong tripled in 2012, and the final number for 2013 is going to absolutely smash what we saw in 2012.
Obviously something is happening.
China is massively hoarding gold at the same time that it is trying to substantially raise the international influence of the yuan.
It doesn’t take a genius to see where all of this is headed.
If China does decide to back the yuan with gold and no longer use the U.S. dollar in international trade, it will have devastating effects on the U.S. economy. Demand for the U.S. dollar and U.S. debt would drop like a rock, and prices on the things that we buy every day would soar. At that point you could forget about cheap gasoline or cheap Chinese imports. Our entire way of life depends on the U.S. dollar being the primary reserve currency of the world and being able to import things very inexpensively. If the rest of the world (led by China) starts to reject the U.S. dollar, it would result in a massive tsunami of currency coming back to our shores and a very painful adjustment in our standard of living. Today, most U.S. currency is actually used outside of the United States. If someday that changes and we are no longer able to export our inflation that is going to mean big trouble for us.
So keep an eye on China, and look out for any news about the yuan.
It won’t happen next week or next month, but eventually we could see China back the yuan with gold.
When that happens, it is going to be a complete and utter financial disaster for the United States.
By recklessly printing, borrowing and spending money, our authorities are absolutely shredding confidence in the U.S. dollar. The rest of the world is watching this nonsense, and at some point they are going to give up on the U.S. dollar and throw their hands up in the air. When that happens, it is going to be absolutely catastrophic for the U.S. economy. Right now, we export a lot of our inflation. Each year, we buy far more from the rest of the world than they buy from us, and so the rest of the world ends up with giant piles of U.S. dollars. This works out pretty well for them, because the U.S. dollar is the primary reserve currency of the world and is used in international trade far more than any other currency is. Back in 1999, the percentage of foreign exchange reserves in U.S. dollars peaked at 71 percent, and since then it has slid back to 62.2 percent. But that is still an overwhelming amount. We can print, borrow and spend like crazy because the rest of the world is there to soak up our excess dollars because they need them to trade with one another. But what will happen someday if the rest of the world decides to reject the U.S. dollar? At that point we would see a tsunami of U.S. dollars come flooding back to this country. Just take a moment and think of the worst superstorm that you can possibly imagine, and then replace every drop of rain with a dollar bill. The giant currency superstorm that will eventually hit this nation will be far worse than that.
Most Americans don’t realize that there are far more dollars in use in the rest of the world than in the United States itself. The following is from a scholarly article by Linda Goldberg…
The dollar is a major form of cash currency around the world. The majority of dollar banknotes are estimated to be held outside the US. More than 70% of hundred-dollar notes and nearly 60% of twenty- and fifty-dollar notes are held abroad, while two-thirds of all US banknotes have been in circulation outside the country since 1990
For decades we have been exporting gigantic quantities of our currency.
So what would happen if that process suddenly reversed and massive piles of dollars started coming back into the country?
It is frightening to think about.
Well, I guess the key is to get the rest of the world to continue to have confidence in the U.S. dollar so that will never happen, right?
Unfortunately, there are lots of signs that the rest of the world is accelerating their move away from the U.S. dollar.
For example, it was recently announced that the BRICS countries are developing their own version of the World Bank…
The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) bloc has begun planning its own development bank and a new bailout fund which would be created by pooling together an estimated $240 billion in foreign exchange reserves, according to diplomatic sources. To get a sense of how significant the proposed fund would be, the fund would be larger than the combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of about 150 countries, according to Russia and India Report.
And as I noted in a previous article, over the past few years there have been a whole host of new international currency agreements that encourage the use of national currencies over the U.S. dollar. The following are just a few examples…
1. China and Germany (See Here)
2. China and Russia (See Here)
3. China and Brazil (See Here)
4. China and Australia (See Here)
5. China and Japan (See Here)
6. India and Japan (See Here)
7. Iran and Russia (See Here)
8. China and Chile (See Here)
9. China and the United Arab Emirates (See Here)
10. China, Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa (See Here)
Will this movement soon become a stampede away from the U.S. dollar?
That is a very important question.
But you don’t hear anything about this in the U.S. media and our politicians are not talking about this at all.
Meanwhile, our “leaders” seem to be doing everything that they can to destroy confidence in the U.S. dollar. The Federal Reserve is printing money like there is no tomorrow, and the federal government continues to run up trillion dollar deficits year after year.
They do not seem to understand that they are systematically destroying the U.S. financial system.
Other world leaders get it. For example, Russian President Vladimir Putin once said the following…
“Unreasonable expansion of the budget deficit, accumulation of the national debt – are as destructive as an adventurous stock market game.
During the time of the Soviet Union the role of the state in economy was made absolute, which eventually lead to the total non-competitiveness of the economy. That lesson cost us very dearly. I am sure no one would want history to repeat itself.”
Why can’t most of our politicians see how destructive debt is?
What the federal government continues to do is absolutely insane. The national debt increased by more than 24 billion dollars on the day after Thanksgiving this year. But utter disaster has not struck yet, and most Americans are not really that concerned about the debt. So things just keep rolling along.
And of course our national debt of $16,309,738,056,362.44 is nothing when compared to the future liabilities that our federal government is facing. Just check out what a recent article in the Wall Street Journal had to say about all this…
The actual liabilities of the federal government—including Social Security, Medicare, and federal employees’ future retirement benefits—already exceed $86.8 trillion, or 550% of GDP. For the year ending Dec. 31, 2011, the annual accrued expense of Medicare and Social Security was $7 trillion. Nothing like that figure is used in calculating the deficit. In reality, the reported budget deficit is less than one-fifth of the more accurate figure.
Other economists paint an even gloomier picture. According to economist Niall Ferguson, the U.S. government is facing future unfunded liabilities of 238 trillion dollars.
So where are we going to get all that money?
Well, why don’t we just print more money than ever before so that the U.S. government can borrow and spend more money than ever before?
Don’t laugh. That is actually what some of the top economists in the country are actually recommending.
The most famous economic journalist in the entire country, Paul Krugman of the New York Times, is boldly proclaiming that the solution to all of our problems is to print, borrow and spend a lot more money. He insists that there is no reason to fear that the giant mountain of debt that we are accumulating will someday collapse the system…
For we have our own currency — and almost all of our debt, both private and public, is denominated in dollars. So our government, unlike the Greek government, literally can’t run out of money. After all, it can print the stuff. So there’s almost no risk that America will default on its debt — I’d say no risk at all if it weren’t for the possibility that Republicans would once again try to hold the nation hostage over the debt ceiling.
But if the U.S. government prints money to pay its bills, won’t that lead to inflation? No, not if the economy is still depressed.
Now, it’s true that investors might start to expect higher inflation some years down the road. They might also push down the value of the dollar. Both of these things, however, would actually help rather than hurt the U.S. economy right now: expected inflation would discourage corporations and families from sitting on cash, while a weaker dollar would make our exports more competitive.
Of course what he is prescribing is complete and utter madness.
At some point this con game is going to collapse and the rest of the world is going to say a big, fat, resounding “NO” to the U.S. dollar.
Why should they continue to use a currency that is becoming extremely unstable and that is constantly being manipulated?
And when the rest of the world rejects the U.S. dollar, the value of the dollar will drop like a rock because there will be far less global demand for it.
In addition, if the rest of the world is not using the U.S. dollar for trade any longer, other nations will cease to soak up our excess currency and huge mountains of our currency that are floating around out there will start flooding back to our shores.
At that point we will be looking at inflation unlike anything we have ever seen before. The era of cheap imports will be over and we will pay far more for everything from oil to the foreign-made plastic trinkets that we buy at Wal-Mart.
Most Americans don’t even know what a “reserve currency” is, but when the U.S. dollar loses reserve currency status it is going to unleash a nightmare that most economists cannot even imagine.
So enjoy this holiday season while you can. There are still lots and lots of cheap imports filling the shelves of our stores.
Once the coming giant currency superstorm strikes, we will dearly wish for the good old days of 2012.
Yes, the U.S. dollar is alive and ticking for now. But at the pace that our authorities are abusing it, I would not say that things are looking good for a long and healthy lifespan.
The U.S. dollar has probably been the closest thing to a true global currency that the world has ever seen. For decades, the use of the U.S. dollar has been absolutely dominant in international trade. This has had tremendous benefits for the U.S. financial system and for U.S. consumers, and it has given the U.S. government tremendous power and influence around the globe. Today, more than 60 percent of all foreign currency reserves in the world are in U.S. dollars. But there are big changes on the horizon. The mainstream media in the United States has been strangely silent about this, but some of the biggest economies on earth have been making agreements with each other to move away from using the U.S. dollar in international trade. There are also some oil producing nations which have begun selling oil in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, which is a major threat to the petrodollar system which has been in place for nearly four decades. And big international institutions such as the UN and the IMF have even been issuing official reports about the need to move away form the U.S. dollar and toward a new global reserve currency. So the reign of the U.S. dollar as the world reserve currency is definitely being threatened, and the coming shift in international trade is going to have massive implications for the U.S. economy.
A lot of this is being fueled by China. China has the second largest economy on the face of the earth, and the size of the Chinese economy is projected to pass the size of the U.S. economy by 2016. In fact, one economist is even projecting that the Chinese economy will be three times larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2040.
So China is sitting there and wondering why the U.S. dollar should continue to be so preeminent if the Chinese economy is about to become the number one economy on the planet.
Over the past few years, China and other emerging powers such as Russia have been been quietly making agreements to move away from the U.S. dollar in international trade. The supremacy of the U.S. dollar is not nearly as solid as most Americans believe that it is.
As the U.S. economy continues to fade, it is going to be really hard to argue that the U.S. dollar should continue to function as the primary reserve currency of the world. Things are rapidly changing, and most Americans have no idea where these trends are taking us.
The following are 10 reasons why the reign of the dollar as the world reserve currency is about to come to an end….
#1 China And Japan Are Dumping the U.S. Dollar In Bilateral Trade
A few months ago, the second largest economy on earth (China) and the third largest economy on earth (Japan) struck a deal which will promote the use of their own currencies (rather than the U.S. dollar) when trading with each other. This was an incredibly important agreement that was virtually totally ignored by the U.S. media. The following is from a BBC report about that agreement….
China and Japan have unveiled plans to promote direct exchange of their currencies in a bid to cut costs for companies and boost bilateral trade.
The deal will allow firms to convert the Chinese and Japanese currencies directly into each other.
Currently businesses in both countries need to buy US dollars before converting them into the desired currency, adding extra costs.
#2 The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Plan To Start Using Their Own Currencies When Trading With Each Other
The BRICS continue to flex their muscles. A new agreement will promote the use of their own national currencies when trading with each other rather than the U.S. dollar. The following is from a news source in India….
The five major emerging economies of BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — are set to inject greater economic momentum into their grouping by signing two pacts for promoting intra-BRICS trade at the fourth summit of their leaders here Thursday.
The two agreements that will enable credit facility in local currency for businesses of BRICS countries will be signed in the presence of the leaders of the five countries, Sudhir Vyas, secretary (economic relations) in the external affairs ministry, told reporters here.
The pacts are expected to scale up intra-BRICS trade which has been growing at the rate of 28 percent over the last few years, but at $230 billion, remains much below the potential of the five economic powerhouses.
#3 The Russia/China Currency Agreement
Russia and China have been using their own national currencies when trading with each other for more than a year now. Leaders from both Russia and China have been strongly advocating for a new global reserve currency for several years, and both nations seem determined to break the power that the U.S. dollar has over international trade.
#4 The Growing Use Of Chinese Currency In Africa
Who do you think is Africa’s biggest trading partner?
It isn’t the United States.
In 2009, China became Africa’s biggest trading partner, and China is now aggressively seeking to expand the use of Chinese currency on that continent.
A report from Africa’s largest bank, Standard Bank, recently stated the following….
“We expect at least $100 billion (about R768 billion) in Sino-African trade – more than the total bilateral trade between China and Africa in 2010 – to be settled in the renminbi by 2015.”
China seems absolutely determined to change the way that international trade is done. At this point, approximately 70,000 Chinese companies are using Chinese currency in cross-border transactions.
#5 The China/United Arab Emirates Deal
China and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to ditch the U.S. dollar and use their own currencies in oil transactions with each other.
The UAE is a fairly small player, but this is definitely a threat to the petrodollar system. What will happen to the petrodollar if other oil producing countries in the Middle East follow suit?
Iran has been one of the most aggressive nations when it comes to moving away from the U.S. dollar in international trade. For example, it has been reported that India will begin to use gold to buy oil from Iran.
Tensions between the U.S. and Iran are not likely to go away any time soon, and Iran is likely to continue to do what it can to inflict pain on the United States in the financial world.
#7 The China/Saudi Arabia Relationship
Who imports the most oil from Saudi Arabia?
It is not the United States.
Rather, it is China.
As I wrote about the other day, China imported 1.39 million barrels of oil per day from Saudi Arabia in February, which was a 39 percent increase from one year earlier.
Saudi Arabia and China have teamed up to construct a massive new oil refinery in Saudi Arabia, and leaders from both nations have been working to aggressively expand trade between the two nations.
So how long is Saudi Arabia going to stick with the petrodollar if China is their most important customer?
That is a very important question.
#8 The United Nations Has Been Pushing For A New World Reserve Currency
The United Nations has been issuing reports that openly call for an alternative to the U.S. dollar as the reserve currency of the world.
In particular, one UN report envisions “a new global reserve system” in which the U.S. no longer has dominance….
“A new global reserve system could be created, one that no longer relies on the United States dollar as the single major reserve currency.”
#9 The IMF Has Been Pushing For A New World Reserve Currency
The International Monetary Fund has also published a series of reports calling for the U.S. dollar to be replaced as the reserve currency of the world.
In particular, one IMF paper entitled “Reserve Accumulation and International Monetary Stability” that was published a while back actually proposed that a future global currency be named the “Bancor” and that a future global central bank could be put in charge of issuing it….
“A global currency, bancor, issued by a global central bank (see Supplement 1, section V) would be designed as a stable store of value that is not tied exclusively to the conditions of any particular economy. As trade and finance continue to grow rapidly and global integration increases, the importance of this broader perspective is expected to continue growing.”
#10 Most Of The Rest Of The World Hates The United States
Global sentiment toward the United States has dramatically shifted, and this should not be underestimated.
Decades ago, we were one of the most loved nations on earth.
Now we are one of the most hated.
If you doubt this, just do some international traveling.
Even in Europe (where we are supposed to have friends), Americans are treated like dirt. Many American travelers have resorted to wearing Canadian pins so that they will not be treated like garbage while traveling over there.
If the rest of the world still loved us, they would probably be glad to continue using the U.S. dollar. But because we are now so unpopular, that gives other nations even more incentive to dump the dollar in international trade.
So what will happen if the reign of the U.S. dollar as the world reserve currency comes to an end?
Well, some of the potential effects were described in a recent article by Michael Payne….
“The demise of the dollar will also bring radical changes to the American lifestyle. When this economic tsunami hits America, it will make the 2008 recession and its aftermath look like no more than a slight bump in the road. It will bring very undesirable changes to the American lifestyle through massive inflation, high interest rates on mortgages and cars, and substantial increases in the cost of food, clothing and gasoline; it will have a detrimental effect on every aspect of our lives.”
Most Americans don’t realize how low the price of gasoline in the United States is compared to much of the rest of the world.
There are areas in Europe where they pay about twice what we do for gasoline. Yes, taxes have a lot to do with that, but the fact that the U.S. dollar is used for almost all oil transactions also plays a significant role.
Today, America consumes nearly a quarter of the world’s oil. Our entire economy is based upon our ability to cheaply transport goods and services over vast distances.
So what happens if the price of gasoline doubles or triples from where it is at now?
In addition, if the reign of the U.S. dollar as global reserve currency ends, the U.S. government is going to have a much harder time financing its debt.
Right now, there is a huge demand for U.S. dollars and for U.S. government debt since countries around the world have to keep huge reserves of U.S. currency lying around for the sake of international trade.
But what if that all changed?
What if the appetite for U.S. dollars and U.S. debt dried up dramatically?
That is something to think about.
At the moment, the global financial system is centered on the United States.
But that will not always be the case.
The things talked about in this article will not happen overnight, but it is important to note that these changes are picking up steam.
Under the right conditions, a shift in momentum can become a landslide or an avalanche.
Clearly, the conditions are right for a significant move away from the U.S. dollar in international trade.
So when will this major shift occur?
Only time will tell.
For decades, the U.S. dollar has been the reserve currency of the world. This has given the United States an extraordinary amount of economic power, but as the U.S. economy has started to come apart over the past decade, other nations have increasingly sought to move away from the U.S. dollar and find other alternatives. For a long time it was thought that the Euro would become the next great reserve currency of the world. However, the recent Greek debt crisis, along with massive financial instability in nations such as Portugal, Spain and Italy, has caused investors to rapidly lose confidence in the Euro. In fact there are even some whispers that the Euro may not even survive the sovereign debt crisis as it sweeps across Europe. With both the U.S. dollar and the Euro looking shaky, investors have been searching somewhere safe to put their money. Increasingly, they have been turning to gold. So has gold now become a new reserve currency? Will all of this new demand drive the price of gold into unprecedented territory?
Well, the truth is that as long as paper currencies around the world continue to show instability, gold will continue to be a preferred choice. Nations all over the world are looking for ways to diversify their very large foreign exchange reserves. For example, China now has approximately $2 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, and has been wanting to reduce its position in U.S. dollars for quite some time now.
But where should they put their money?
The Euro is coming apart like a 20 dollar suit. There is a very real fear that Greece is only the first domino to fall and that soon nations like Italy, Spain and Portugal will be begging the IMF for assistance as the sovereign debt crisis sweeps across Europe.
Well, what about the British pound? The truth is that the pound is not very appealing right now because the U.K. is facing a massive government debt crisis as well. In fact, Bank of England governor Mervyn King recently warned that public anger over the “austerity measures” that soon must be implemented in the U.K. will be so intense that whatever party wins this election will be out of power for a generation.
Well, how about the Japanese yen? Ironically, there has been a move towards the Japanese yen in recent days, but the truth is that the Japanese debt situation is one of the worst in the world. Japan’s gross public debt has reached 201 percent of GDP and Japan’s battle with deflation dragged into its 13th straight month in March. No, the yen is not safe at all.
So does that bring us back to the U.S. dollar? No. There is a reason why nations all over the world have been wanting to get out of the U.S. dollar. The United States has piled up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world, and even official U.S. government reports admit that the U.S. government is on a financial path that is not even close to sustainable. The U.S. economy is caught in a death spiral, and that makes the U.S. dollar very unsafe.
So, what is safe at this point?
Well, gold is.
The price of gold rose to $1,210 an ounce on Friday. The terms “flight to quality” and “safe haven” are increasingly being used for the precious metal as investors flee all of the major global paper currencies.
Just consider some of the recent comments about gold by financial experts that have shown up in the news….
Stephen Platt, a commodity analyst at Archer Financial Services Inc. in Chicago:
“The sovereign-debt panic is spreading and forcing a flight to quality into gold.”
Citigroup analyst David Thurtell:
“Gold is now enjoying safe haven status, partly because bonds, particularly peripheral euro zone government and bank paper, is no longer a safe haven.”
Dennis Gartman, an economist and the editor of the Suffolk, Virginia-based Gartman Letter:
“There is a clear flight into quality to the gold market as frightened capital seeks a haven of any sort while confusion reigns.”
So will this move towards gold continue?
Although anyone who follows the gold market knows that big financial institutions regularly work to suppress the price of gold. In fact, one industry insider recently decided to be a whistleblower and came forward with “smoking gun” evidence of price manipulation in the precious metals markets, but the CFTC didn’t do a thing about it.
Fortunately, the overwhelming demand for gold is now pushing the price up despite efforts to suppress it.
In addition, once it becomes apparent that most of the “gold” that is traded in the world is not backed by the actual metal itself, the price of gold will go even higher.
For years, almost everyone has assumed that the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), the world’s largest gold market, had actual gold to back up the massive “gold deposits” at the major LBMA banks.
But that is just not the case.
People are now starting to realize that there is very little actual gold in the LBMA system.
When most people think they are buying “gold”, what they are actually buying are just pieces of paper that say they own gold.
Egon von Greyerz of Matterhorn Asset Management in Switzerland recently elaborated on this point. He says that “a lot of people who have studied it closely are convinced that there is a major shortage in physical gold at LBMA. LBMA trades around 700 tons net of gold daily. That is 25% of world annual production and around $6 trillion annually. To back that amount of trading on a 100% reserve ratio basis, it would need several year’s production of physical gold, which they definitively haven’t got.”
So what is going to happen when investors start demanding physical delivery of the gold that they purchase?
It is going to create a huge mess.
Needless to say, if you are investing in gold make sure that you take physical delivery of the gold.
As the paper currenices all over the globe continue to unravel (as all debt-based paper currencies always do), all precious metals, including gold, will be increasingly in demand.
In fact, the idea of gold being a “reserve currency” is not anything new.
Gold has been a “reserve currency” for thousands of years, and those who understand history know that it will always remain one.