Saturday, July 5, 2014


At first glance, it feels like yet another apocalyptic vision of the end of the world. Or better, about the end of American hegemony.

If American economic policy relies on the fact that the dollar is an international reserve currency, thus allowing us to print as much of it as we please, then de-dollarization, as Tyler Durden calls it, would be a coup-de-grace for a nation that is spending well beyond its means.

Durden writes:

While numerous massively indebted administrations around the world hope to divert the attention of what's left of their struggling middle class away from its daily impoverished existence and distract it with flashing lights and glitzy animations showing another all time market high on a daily basis, a significantly more important shift taking place behind the scenes is appreciated by very few: the ongoing de-dollarization of the world. 

The lead actors in the move toward de-dollarization are the BRIC nations, Brazil, Russia, India and China. As of now, Russia is taking the lead:

On June 10th, Sergey Glaziev, Putin's economy advisor published an article outlining the need to establish an international alliance of countries willing to get rid of the dollar in international trade and refrain from using dollars in their currency reserves. The ultimate goal would be to break the Washington's money printing machine that is feeding its military-industrial complex and giving the US ample possibilities to spread chaos across the globe, fueling the civil wars in Libya, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine. Glaziev's critics believe that such an alliance would be difficult to establish and that creating a non-dollar-based global financial system would be extremely challenging from a technical point of view. 

Grant that it looks nearly impossible, but that does not mean that bankers and politicians are not trying to solve the problems:

However, in her discussion with Vladimir Putin, the head of the Russian central bank unveiled an elegant technical solution for this problem and left a clear hint regarding the members of the anti-dollar alliance that is being created by the efforts of Moscow and Beijing:

“We've done a lot of work on the ruble-yuan swap deal in order to facilitate trade financing. I have a meeting next week in Beijing”, she said casually and then dropped the bomb: “We are discussing with China and our BRICS parters the establishment of a system of multilateral swaps that will allow to transfer resources to one or another country, if needed. A part of the currency reserves can be directed to [the new system].”

It seems that Kremlin chose the all-in-one approach for establishing its anti-dollar alliance. Currency swaps between the BRICS central banks will facilitate trade financing while completely bypassing the dollar. At the same time, the new system will also act as a de facto replacement of the IMF, because it will allow the members of the alliance to direct resources to finance the weaker countries. As an important bonus, derived from this “quasi-IMF” system, the BRICS will use a part (most likely the “dollar part”) of their currency reserves to support it, thus drastically reducing the amount of dollar-based instruments bought by some of the biggest foreign creditors of the US.

Whether it’s a black swan in the making or just another fantasy, it’s surely worth paying attention to a phenomenon that everyone is discounting as a rank impossibility.

Durden summarizes:

If the current trend continues, soon the dollar will be abandoned by most of the significant global economies and it will be kicked out of the global trade finance. Washington's bullying will make even former American allies choose the anti-dollar alliance instead of the existing dollar-based monetary system. The point of no return for the dollar may be much closer than it is generally thought. In fact, the greenback may have already past its point of no return on its way to irrelevance.


Webutante said...

Of course you and Tyler are correct, Stuart. We should pay attention to this and ignore it at our great peril. The devaluation of the dollar and zero interest rates are two of the main reasons the stock market keeps going up, up, up in a frightening way. I shudder to think what will happen when this house of cards comes crashing down....meanwhile, having some gold, silver and even some other staples on hand isn't a bad idea for any wise investor.

Anonymous said...

The correction is coming soon. It will be significant, and many will claim to be "surprised" by the shock and scale. This is what happens when government monetary and economic policies are tied to fairy tales (a la creating the 2008 MBS/CDO nightmare with Fan/Fred guaranteed mortgages). The Fed will say they didn't see it coming. The Obama Administration will blame it on greedy ______. And Elizabeth Warren will emerge from her tepee as the nation's goddess of social justice.


Ares Olympus said...

I agree with the prognosis as fake person Tyler Durden, at least in the long run, but when does the long run start?

Still we can imagine some outraged person on 15 August 1971 complaining about Nixon taking the U.S. Dollar off the gold standard, and predicting this would lead to unlimited money printing, and the fall of the dollar from its international standard for trade.

And surely with the stagflation of the 1970's someone would say the world is ending, and we need to prepare for hard times, well, like President Carter and his sweater, telling the American people to turn down the heat, and prepare to be ordinary.

But then Reagan came along, and told us that the American Century was only beginning, and we learned how to charge everything, and nothing really bad happened, and everyone got richer, and now we got computers to get rich people even richer, sitting in their underwear at the kitchen table.

So now, finally 43 years later, is America going to pay four our excesses? Is the demand for U.S. Dollars decreasing because our QE race to the bottom is almost as fast as every other world currency?

Yes, it all has to end, and sooner than we want, but much much longer than any rational person would expect.

So, let's prepare for the end of global economics, and all the advantages we have from owning the international currency of exchange, BUT...

You know what's going to happen, right? A new global economic crisis, a new war or two until that doesn't work, and finally a new FDR savior, definitely from the left anyway, and 90% top tax bracket, and wealth redistribution and all that fun stuff that happens after people feel poor and envious and vengeful.

Whatever is coming, I agree we're past the point of no return, and the financialization of the economy has a day of destiny.

How much longer? My guess is 2 to 16 years, but I think it will end because of middle class revolt rather than external since everyone with means has a stake in U.S. markets as a flight to safety. So more it depends on how desperate the middle class are to keep law and order and their bank accounts and retirement funds intact.

Ares Olympus said...

Mike Maloney gives the dollar a 2020 endgame, but I'm no sure a goldbug has much to say to me.

It's easy to judge all fiat currencies always die, and fun to guess when, but the real question is where you want to be when a currency dies.

Do you hold cash for a deflation crisis, or downsize your lifestyle to need less no matter what the future holds?