10 Reasons Why The Reign Of The Dollar As The World Reserve Currency Is About To Come To An End

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?

#6 Iran

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.

Shell Game

The entire U.S. financial system has become a gigantic shell game.  While it is still in motion, a shell game can be mesmerizing to watch.  But when it ends the consequences can be painful.  So exactly what is a shell game?  According to Wikipedia, a shell game “is portrayed as a gambling game, but in reality, when a wager for money is made, it is a confidence trick used to perpetrate fraud.”  Sadly, that is exactly what is happening on the global stage today.  The Federal Reserve is like a con artist that is desperately trying to stay one step ahead of everyone else.  The folks at the Fed know that the debt that the U.S. government has accumulated is not sustainable and will eventually collapse.  They also know that the U.S. dollar is eventually going to become essentially worthless.  But for now the Federal Reserve is putting on a grand show and is trying to keep everyone believing that the game is fair and legitimate.

The Federal Reserve’s much ballyhooed “QE2” program has come to an end, and most Americans still don’t even understand what “quantitative easing” is.

Basically, what the Federal Reserve did was zap hundreds of billions of dollars into existence out of thin air and used them to buy U.S. government debt.

It is kind of like if you are playing poker with someone and they reach under the table and pull out a gigantic pile of chips which they add to their own stack.

In the process, the big banks made a ton of money because they are the ones that the Federal Reserve was buying U.S. Treasuries from and the U.S. government was happy because all of the new government debt being issued was getting soaked up by the system.

Of course all of this is one giant Ponzi scheme, but up to this point the Federal Reserve has gotten away with it.

Meanwhile, average Americans were getting the short end of the stick because all of this new money has been causing the price of food and the price of gas to go up.

But now QE2 has come to an end.

So does that mean that  “quantitative easing” is going to be completely over?

No, not really.  The shell game continues.

The Federal Reserve has announced that it is going to continue to purchase U.S. government debt using the proceeds from maturing debt that it already owns.  It is being projected that the Federal Reserve will purchase 300 billion dollars in U.S. government debt over the next 12 months using this method.

This isn’t being called “quantitative easing”, but that is essentially what it is.  In fact, one CNN article is calling it “QE2.5”….

QE2 is just about done. But the Federal Reserve will still be buying massive amounts of long-term Treasuries.

In fact, the Fed’s purchases over the next year will likely be at least $300 billion. That’s half the size of QE2 — even if QE3 never takes place.

But “quantitative easing” is just one example of a shell game run by the Fed.  There have been lots more.

For example, during the financial crisis the Federal Reserve started loaning gigantic amounts of cash to the big banks for next to nothing.

The big banks took a lot of this cash and invested it in U.S. Treasuries.  U.S. Treasuries typically only pay a couple of percentage points, but when you can borrow massive amounts of nearly free money suddenly they become extremely profitable.

Instead of loaning out large amounts of money to all of us to get the economy rolling again, the big banks just parked huge amounts of cash in U.S. Treasuries and watched the risk-free profits come rolling in.

In this way, the Federal Reserve helped big banks make a ton of money and they supported the exploding federal government debt load at the same time.

The chart below shows that the amount of U.S. government securities owned by the banks has increased exponentially since the beginning of the financial crisis.  This is not an accident….

The Federal Reserve does lots of stuff like this.  They know that they will probably never get audited and they know that the American people don’t understand all of this financial stuff, so they get away with it.

But what if something came along and suddenly interrupted the shell games that the Fed is playing?

Well, that is exactly what this debt ceiling debate threatens to do.

If the U.S. defaults, even for a short time, all of the financial shell games and Ponzi schemes are going to be greatly jeopardized.

If Congress does not raise the debt ceiling by August 2nd, the U.S. government will start defaulting, and that would unleash a tremendous amount of chaos.

A recent USA Today article described some of the things that might happen if the government was not able to borrow any more money later this summer….

If Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment benefits, payments to defense contractors and interest payments on Treasury bonds were exempt, that would be all the government could afford for the month. No money for troops or veterans. No tax refunds. No food stamps or welfare. No federal salaries or benefits.

In addition, financial markets all over the world would be severely rattled.  If the default only lasted a couple of days it would not be bad, but if the U.S. ended up defaulting on debts for weeks or months it really would be cataclysmic.

The International Monetary Fund warned this week that a failure to raise the debt ceiling by August 2nd would be a “severe shock” to global financial markets.

In this case, the IMF is actually right.  In fact, a “severe shock” would be an understatement.

The managing director of Standard & Poor’s has told Reuters that if the U.S. starts defaulting, the credit rating on U.S. Treasury bonds that are supposed to mature on August 4th will go all the way down from AAA to D….

Chambers, who is also the chairman of S&P’s sovereign ratings committee, told Reuters on Tuesday that U.S. Treasury bills maturing on August 4 would be rated ‘D’ if the government fails to honor them. Unaffected Treasuries would be downgraded as well, but not as sharply, he said.

“If the U.S. government misses a payment, it goes to D,” Chambers said. “That would happen right after August 4, when the bills mature, because they don’t have a grace period.”

A lot of Americans believe that Congress should just refuse to raise the debt ceiling and let the whole system crash.  But the reality is that most Americans simply have no idea how much of a financial disaster that would be for the entire globe.

Yes, the U.S. national debt is completely and totally out of control.  Yes, something must be done about it urgently.

But defaulting on our debts and wrecking global financial markets is not going to solve much of anything.

Sadly, even if we do not default on our debts this year, the reality is that the U.S. government debt bubble is going to collapse one way or another eventually.

The path that we are currently on is not even close to sustainable.

Even as our debt expands exponentially, the U.S. economy is being systematically dismantled and we are becoming poorer as a nation.

As I have written about previously, jobs and businesses are leaving the United States at a staggering rate because of cheap labor overseas and because of ridiculous regulations.  The business environment in this country has become incredibly toxic.

Stanford University’s David Cheriton was instrumental in helping Sergey Brin and Larry Brin develop Google.  Now he is warning that the anti-business policies of Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress are wrecking the economy….

“When you look at, say, Larry and Sergey of Google, they made billions of dollars, but they contributed many more billions of dollars to the US economy. And so we should be empowering these people; we should be cultivating more of the next generation of those types. And yet, I think there’s almost a hostile attitude towards people who have been successful in this country.”

As I wrote about the other day, the rate of new business creation in the United States has been declining steadily since the 1980s.  We won’t have a chance at a real economic recovery until the creation of small businesses is encouraged once again.

But today businesses of all sizes are trying to avoid U.S. taxation.  Right now, the United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the entire world.  Sadly, all businesses have a great deal of incentive to avoid incorporating in the United States.

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal talked about this phenomenon….

As savvy investors and entrepreneurs search for ways to minimize the impact of the U.S. tax system, with its relatively high rates and global reach, they are increasingly incorporating overseas, tax experts say. Some private-equity firms have relocated U.S. companies or divisions to tax-haven countries. U.S. multinational companies have spun off foreign subsidiaries in tax havens. U.S. start-ups are even beginning life offshore.

Large numbers of really good companies are fleeing the United States.

What we are doing is not working.

So what is the answer?

Well, as I have said before, we need to entirely scrap the current tax system and come up with something that works in the 21st century.

But we all know that is not going to happen.

Meanwhile, our economy continues to unravel.  According to the Department of Labor, the unemployment rate rose in 210 metro areas during the month of May, and it only declined in 131 metro areas.

Consumer confidence in this country has hit a seven-month low, and average Americans are becoming increasingly anxious about the state of the economy.

Unfortunately, most of our politicians don’t seem to have any answers and the Federal Reserve is just trying to keep their shell games going.

Every single day the U.S. economy is getting weaker.  Every single day we are going into more debt.  Every single day we get closer to the collapse of the entire system.

Time is running out.

I hope you are making good use of the time you still have left.

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