Saudi Arabia And China Team Up To Build A Gigantic New Oil Refinery – Is This The Beginning Of The End For The Petrodollar?

The largest oil exporter in the Middle East has teamed up with the second largest consumer of oil in the world (China) to build a gigantic new oil refinery and the mainstream media in the United States has barely even noticed it.  This mammoth new refinery is scheduled to be fully operational in the Red Sea port city of Yanbu by 2014.  Over the past several years, China has sought to aggressively expand trade with Saudi Arabia, and China now actually imports more oil from Saudi Arabia than the United States does.  In February, China imported 1.39 million barrels of oil per day from Saudi Arabia.  That was 39 percent higher than last February.  So why is this important?  Well, back in 1973 the United States and Saudi Arabia agreed that all oil sold by Saudi Arabia would be denominated in U.S. dollars.  This petrodollar system was adopted by almost the entire world and it has had great benefits for the U.S. economy.  But if China becomes Saudi Arabia’s most important trading partner, then why should Saudi Arabia continue to only sell oil in U.S. dollars?  And if the petrodollar system collapses, what is that going to mean for the U.S. economy?

Those are very important questions, and they will be addressed later on in this article.  First of all, let’s take a closer look at the agreement reached between Saudi Arabia and China recently.

The following is how the deal was described in a recent China Daily article….

In what Riyadh calls “the largest expansion by any oil company in the world”, Sinopec’s deal on Saturday with Saudi oil giant Aramco will allow a major oil refinery to become operational in the Red Sea port of Yanbu by 2014.

The $8.5 billion joint venture, which covers an area of about 5.2 million square meters, is already under construction. It will process 400,000 barrels of heavy crude oil per day. Aramco will hold a 62.5 percent stake in the plant while Sinopec will own the remaining 37.5 percent.

At a time when the U.S. is actually losing refining capacity, this is a stunning development.

Yet the U.S. press has been largely silent about this.

Very curious.

But China is not just doing deals with Saudi Arabia.  China has also been striking deals with several other important oil producing nations.  The following comes from a recent article by Gregg Laskoski….

China’s investment in oil infrastructure and refining capacity is unparalleled. And more importantly, it executes a consistent strategy of developing world-class refining facilities in partnership with OPEC suppliers. Such relationships mean economic leverage that could soon subordinate U.S. relations with the same countries.

Egypt is building its largest refinery ever with investment from China.

Shortly after the partnership with Egypt was announced, China signed a $23 billion agreement with Nigeria to construct three gasoline refineries and a fuel complex in Nigeria.

Essentially, China is running circles around the United States when it comes to locking up strategic oil supplies worldwide.

And all of these developments could have tremendous implications for the future of the petrodollar system.

If you are not familiar with the petrodollar system, it really is not that complicated.  Basically, almost all of the oil in the world is traded in U.S. dollars.  The origin of the petrodollar system was detailed in a recent article by Jerry Robinson….

In 1973, a deal was struck between Saudi Arabia and the United States in which every barrel of oil purchased from the Saudis would be denominated in U.S. dollars. Under this new arrangement, any country that sought to purchase oil from Saudi Arabia would be required to first exchange their own national currency for U.S. dollars. In exchange for Saudi Arabia’s willingness to denominate their oil sales exclusively in U.S. dollars, the United States offered weapons and protection of their oil fields from neighboring nations, including Israel.

By 1975, all of the OPEC nations had agreed to price their own oil supplies exclusively in U.S. dollars in exchange for weapons and military protection. 

This petrodollar system, or more simply known as an “oil for dollars” system, created an immediate artificial demand for U.S. dollars around the globe. And of course, as global oil demand increased, so did the demand for U.S. dollars.

Once you understand the petrodollar system, it becomes much easier to understand why our politicians treat Saudi leaders with kid gloves.  The U.S. government does not want to see anything happen that would jeopardize the status quo.

A recent article by Marin Katusa described some more of the benefits that the petrodollar system has had for the U.S. economy….

The “petrodollar” system was a brilliant political and economic move. It forced the world’s oil money to flow through the US Federal Reserve, creating ever-growing international demand for both US dollars and US debt, while essentially letting the US pretty much own the world’s oil for free, since oil’s value is denominated in a currency that America controls and prints. The petrodollar system spread beyond oil: the majority of international trade is done in US dollars. That means that from Russia to China, Brazil to South Korea, every country aims to maximize the US-dollar surplus garnered from its export trade to buy oil.

The US has reaped many rewards. As oil usage increased in the 1980s, demand for the US dollar rose with it, lifting the US economy to new heights. But even without economic success at home the US dollar would have soared, because the petrodollar system created consistent international demand for US dollars, which in turn gained in value. A strong US dollar allowed Americans to buy imported goods at a massive discount – the petrodollar system essentially creating a subsidy for US consumers at the expense of the rest of the world. Here, finally, the US hit on a downside: The availability of cheap imports hit the US manufacturing industry hard, and the disappearance of manufacturing jobs remains one of the biggest challenges in resurrecting the US economy today.

So what happens if the petrodollar system collapses?

Well, for one thing the value of the U.S. dollar would plummet big time.

U.S. consumers would suddenly find that all of those “cheap imported goods” would rise in price dramatically as would the price of gasoline.

If you think the price of gas is high now, you just wait until the petrodollar system collapses.

In addition, there would be much less of a demand for U.S. government debt since countries would not have so many excess U.S. dollars lying around.

So needless to say, the U.S. government really needs the petrodollar system to continue.

But in the end, it is Saudi Arabia that is holding the cards.

If Saudi Arabia chooses to sell oil in a currency other than the U.S. dollar, most of the rest of the oil producing countries in the Middle East would surely do the same rather quickly.

And we have already seen countries in other parts of the world start to move away from using the U.S. dollar in global trade.

For example, Russia and China have agreed to now use their own national currencies when trading with each other rather than the U.S. dollar.

That got virtually no attention in the U.S. media, but it really was a big deal when it was announced.

A recent article by Graham Summers summarized some of the other moves away from the U.S. dollar in international trade that we have seen recently….

Indeed, officials from China, India, Brazil, Russia, and South Africa (the latest addition to the BRIC acronym, now to be called BRICS) recently met in southern China to discuss expanding the use of their own currencies in foreign trade (yet another move away from the US Dollar).

To recap:

  • China and Russia have removed the US Dollar from their trade
  • China is rushing its trade agreement with Brazil
  • China, Russia, Brazil, India, and now South Africa are moving to trade more in their own currencies (not the US Dollar)
  • Saudi Arabia is moving to formalize trade with China and Russia
  • Singapore is moving to trade yuan

The trend here is obvious. The US Dollar’s reign as the world’s reserve currency is ending. The process will take time to unfold. But the Dollar will be finished as reserve currency within the next five years.

Yes, the days of the U.S. dollar being the primary reserve currency of the world are definitely numbered.

It will not happen overnight, but as the U.S. economy continues to get weaker it is inevitable that the rest of the world will continue to question why the U.S. dollar should automatically have such a dominant position in international trade.

Over the next few years, keep a close eye on Saudi Arabia.

When Saudi Arabia announces a move away from the petrodollar system, that will be a major trigger event for the global financial system and it will be a really, really bad sign for the U.S. economy.

The level of prosperity that we are enjoying today would not be possible without the petrodollar system.  Once the petrodollar system collapses, a lot of our underlying economic vulnerabilities will be exposed and it will not be pretty.

Tough times are on the horizon.  It is imperative that we all get informed and that we all get prepared.

35 Facts About The Gutting Of America’s Industrial Might That Should Make You Very Angry

Did you know that an average of 23 manufacturing facilities were shut down every single day in the United States last year?  As World War II ended, the United States emerged as the greatest industrial power that the world has ever seen.  But now America’s industrial might is being gutted like a fish and both political parties seem totally unconcerned.  Yes, we will always need trading relationships that are fair and balanced with other countries that have economic systems that are similar to our own.  However, the truth is that most of our trading relationships are neither “fair” nor balanced.  For example, China manipulates currency rates so that Chinese products are much cheaper than they should be, they brazenly steal our technology and we let them get away with it, they deeply subsidize their most important industries and they exploit their citizens by allowing them to be paid slave labor wages.  How in the world does that resemble the “free market” at work?  Predatory nations such as China do everything that they can to distort the free market.  So why in the world would any rational economist ever recommend that we should keep trading with other countries that are cheating us blind?  After you read the facts in this article about the gutting of America’s industrial might, hopefully you will get very angry.  We need the American people to start getting very upset about these very important issues.

Both major political parties promised us that globalization would be wonderful for the U.S. economy.  Well, in the first decade of this century less net jobs were created than in any other decade since the Great Depression.

The “free trade” polices of the globalists have been an abysmal failure.  Tens of thousands of factories, millions of jobs, and hundreds of billions of dollars of our national wealth have gone to countries that engage in predatory trade practices and that exploit slave labor pools.

How in the world are American workers supposed to compete against workers that make less than a dollar an hour (with no benefits) on the other side of the globe?

If you support the version of “free trade” that most of our politicians are promoting, then you are supporting the one world economic system that the global elite are trying to establish.  In this one world economic system, American workers will increasingly be forced to compete for jobs with the cheapest labor on the planet.  This will continue to force the standard of living of American workers way, way down and it will continue to absolutely destroy the middle class.

The following are 35 facts about the gutting of America’s industrial might that should make you very angry….

#1 According to U.S. Representative Betty Sutton, America has lost an average of 15 manufacturing facilities a day over the last 10 years.

#2 Sadly, it looks like this trend is picking up momentum.  During 2010, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day were shut down in the United States.

#3 Since 2001, the U.S. has lost a total of more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities.

#4 According to the Economic Policy Institute, the U.S. economy loses approximately 9,000 jobs for every $1 billion of goods that are imported from overseas.

#5 The United States has had a negative trade balance every single year since 1976, and since that time the United States has run a total trade deficit of more than 7.5 trillion dollars with the rest of the world.

#6 Back in 1979, there were 19.5 million manufacturing jobs in the United States.  Today, there are 11.6 million.  That represents a decline of 40 percent during a time period when our overall population experienced tremendous growth.

#7 Between December 2000 and December 2010, 38 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Ohio were lost, 42 percent of the manufacturing jobs in North Carolina were lost and 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Michigan were lost.

#8 Back in 1970, 25 percent of all jobs in the United States were manufacturing jobs. Today, only 9 percent of all jobs in the United States are manufacturing jobs.

#9 The United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

#10 The Economic Policy Institute says that since 2001 America has lost approximately 2.8 million jobs due to our trade deficit with China alone.

#11 All over the United States, road and bridge projects are being outsourced to Chinese firms.  Just check out the following excerpt from a recent ABC News article….

In New York there is a $400 million renovation project on the Alexander Hamilton Bridge.

In California, there is a $7.2 billion project to rebuild the Bay Bridge connecting San Francisco and Oakland.

In Alaska, there is a proposal for a $190 million bridge project.

These projects sound like steps in the right direction, but much of the work is going to Chinese government-owned firms.

“When we subsidize jobs in China, we’re not creating any wealth in the United States,” said Scott Paul, executive director for the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

#12 If you can believe it, the United States spends about 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that China spends on goods and services from the United States.

#13 The U.S. trade deficit with China rose to an all-time record of 273.1 billion dollars in 2010.  This is the largest trade deficit that one nation has had with another nation in the history of the world.

#14 The U.S. trade deficit with China in 2010 was 27 times larger than it was back in 1990.

#15 The new World Trade Center tower is going to be made with imported glass from China and imported steel from Germany.

#16 The new MLK memorial on the National Mall was made in China.

#17 Do you remember when the United States was the dominant manufacturer of automobiles and trucks on the globe?  Well, in 2010 the U.S. ran a trade deficit in automobiles, trucks and parts of $110 billion.

#18 In 2010, South Korea exported 12 times as many automobiles, trucks and parts to us as we exported to them.

#19 Even in high technology products we are being destroyed.  In 2002, the United States had a trade deficit in “advanced technology products” of $16 billion with the rest of the world.  In 2010, that number skyrocketed to $82 billion.

#20 China has now become the world’s largest exporter of high technology products.

#21 Back in 1998, the United States had 25 percent of the world’s high-tech export market and China had just 10 percent. Ten years later, the United States had less than 15 percent and China’s share had soared to 20 percent.

#22 Manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry was actually lower in 2010 than it was in 1975.

#23 In 2008, 1.2 billion cellphones were sold worldwide.  So how many of them were manufactured inside the United States?  Zero.

#24 The United States now has 10 percent fewer “middle class jobs” than it did just ten years ago.

#25 Today, American workers are bringing home a much smaller share of economic pie.  Over the past decade, the ratio of wages to GDP has been declining very steadily.

#26 Now that millions of our jobs have been exported, there aren’t nearly enough jobs left for all of us.  Right now, the average amount of time that a worker stays unemployed in the United States is approximately 39 weeks.

#27 There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were back in 2000 even though we have added 30 million extra people to the population since then.

#28 If you gathered together all of the workers that are “officially” unemployed in the United States today, they would constitute the 68th largest country in the world.

#29 According to one study, between 1969 and 2009 the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 dropped by 27 percent after you account for inflation.

#30 As the number of good paying jobs declines, America’s middle class is rapidly shrinking.  In 1970, 65 percent of all Americans lived in “middle class neighborhoods”.  By 2007, only 44 percent of all Americans lived in “middle class neighborhoods”.

#31 In the United States today, corporate profits are at a record high, and yet employment numbers have still not rebounded.  Obviously something is structurally wrong.

#32 The Obama administration says that there are certain things that “we don’t want to make in America” anymore.  If you don’t believe this, just check out what U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk recently told Tim Robertson of the Huffington Post about the Obama administration’s attitude toward keeping manufacturing jobs in America….

Let’s increase our competitiveness… the reality is about half of our imports, our trade deficit is because of how much oil [we import], so you take that out of the equation, you look at what percentage of it are things that frankly, we don’t want to make in America, you know, cheaper products, low-skill jobs that frankly college kids that are graduating from, you know, UC Cal and Hastings [don’t want], but what we do want is to capture those next generation jobs and build on our investments in our young people, our education infrastructure.

#33 Jeffrey Immelt, the head of Barack Obama’s highly touted “Jobs Council”, has shipped tens of thousands of good jobs out of the United States.

#34 According to Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton University, 40 million more U.S. jobs could be sent offshore over the next two decades.

#35 One recent poll found that 41 percent of all Americans believe that “the American Dream has been lost”.

Yes, it is fun to go out and fill up our shopping carts with “cheap products” from the other side of the world, but when we do that it destroys our jobs, our businesses and our communities.

Our addiction to cheap foreign products is incredibly self-destructive.  Essentially what we are doing is that we are ripping apart pieces of our own home and throwing them into the fire in an attempt to keep it going.  Eventually we will cannibalize our entire home.

And we never really think about what it is like for the slave laborers that make all these cheap products for us.  The following is from an article in the Telegraph about what conditions at one major Chinese manufacturing facility are like….

So far, at least 16 people have jumped from high buildings at the factory so far this year, with 12 deaths. A further 20 people were stopped by the company before they could attempt to kill themselves.

The hysteria at Longhua, where between 300,000 and 400,000 employees eat, work and sleep, has grown to such a pitch that workers have twisted Foxconn’s Chinese name so that it now sounds like: “Run to your Death”.

If we stay on this current path, even more of our formerly great manufacturing cities will turn into post-industrial hellholes.

Once upon a time, I also bought the “free trade” propaganda hook, line and sinker.  But then I opened up my mind and I learned the truth.

This nation is losing jobs, factories and wealth at a pace that is almost unbelievable.

Something desperately needs to be done.

Is there anyone out there that is willing to defend the emerging one world economic system that is stealing our jobs and killing the middle class?

If so, I challenge you to take your best shot.  Leave a comment below and explain to the rest of us why we are wrong.

We need to debate these issues because the myth of “free trade” is absolutely killing us.

Please wake up and get angry about these issues America.

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