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Russia Returns Favor, Sees Chinese Yuan As World Reserve Currency | Zero Hedge

Russia Returns Favor, Sees Chinese Yuan As World Reserve Currency | Zero Hedge.

Following China’s unwillingness to vote against Russia at the UN and yesterday’s news that China will sue Ukraine for $3bn loan repayment, it seems Russia is returning the favor. Speaking at the Chinese Economic Development Forum, ITAR-TASS reports, the Chief Economist of Russia’s largest bank stated that “China’s Yuan may become the third reserve currency in the in the future.”

 

Managing Director and Chief Economist of investment company Sberbank Yevgeny Gavrilenkov said at the 15th governmental Chinese economic development forum in the Chinese capital on Sunday (via ITAR-TASS):

China’s yuan (renminbi) may become a third reserve currency in the world in the future

 

“This forecast can be made on figures of domestic economic growth. Probably the country will keep high GDP growth rate and the GDP volume will increase to around 14-16 trillion U.S. dollars for a brief period of time, the indicators comparable to the European Union and the United States.

 

Meanwhile, Chinese securities are more attractive for the countries that have a surplus in economy, particularly the Middle East states; and China will obviously follow the path of securing the country’s assets,”

The forum which opened in the Chinese capital on March 22 discusses a broad range of issues of economic reforms and China’s stronger role as the second largest world economy. First Deputy Prime Minister of the Chinese State Council Zhang Gaoli, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde and top managers of major world corporations participate in the forum as honorary guests.

Of course, as we noted previously, nothing lasts forever

 [12]

 

and with Friday’s “Petrodollar Alert” perhaps things are moving faster than many assumed.

Russia Returns Favor, Sees Chinese Yuan As World Reserve Currency | Zero Hedge

Russia Returns Favor, Sees Chinese Yuan As World Reserve Currency | Zero Hedge.

Following China’s unwillingness to vote against Russia at the UN and yesterday’s news that China will sue Ukraine for $3bn loan repayment, it seems Russia is returning the favor. Speaking at the Chinese Economic Development Forum, ITAR-TASS reports, the Chief Economist of Russia’s largest bank stated that “China’s Yuan may become the third reserve currency in the in the future.”

 

Managing Director and Chief Economist of investment company Sberbank Yevgeny Gavrilenkov said at the 15th governmental Chinese economic development forum in the Chinese capital on Sunday (via ITAR-TASS):

China’s yuan (renminbi) may become a third reserve currency in the world in the future

 

“This forecast can be made on figures of domestic economic growth. Probably the country will keep high GDP growth rate and the GDP volume will increase to around 14-16 trillion U.S. dollars for a brief period of time, the indicators comparable to the European Union and the United States.

 

Meanwhile, Chinese securities are more attractive for the countries that have a surplus in economy, particularly the Middle East states; and China will obviously follow the path of securing the country’s assets,”

The forum which opened in the Chinese capital on March 22 discusses a broad range of issues of economic reforms and China’s stronger role as the second largest world economy. First Deputy Prime Minister of the Chinese State Council Zhang Gaoli, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde and top managers of major world corporations participate in the forum as honorary guests.

Of course, as we noted previously, nothing lasts forever

 [12]

 

and with Friday’s “Petrodollar Alert” perhaps things are moving faster than many assumed.

Forget Russia Dumping U.S. Treasuries … Here’s the REAL Economic Threat Washington’s Blog

Forget Russia Dumping U.S. Treasuries … Here’s the REAL Economic Threat Washington’s Blog.

Russia Could Crush the Petrodollar

Russia threatened to dump its U.S. treasuries if America imposed sanctions regarding Russia’s action in the Crimea.

Zero Hedge argues that Russia has already done so.

But veteran investor Jim Sinclair argues that Russia has a much scarier financial attack which Russia can use against the U.S.

Specifically, Sinclair says that if Russia accepts payment for oil and gas in any currency other than the dollar – whether it’s gold, the Euro, the Ruble, the Rupee, or anything else – then the U.S. petrodollar system will collapse:

Indeed, one of the main pillars for U.S. power is the petrodollar, and the U.S. is desperate for the dollar to maintain reserve status.  Some wise commentators have argued that recent U.S. wars have really been about keeping the rest of the world on the petrodollar standard.

The theory is that – after Nixon took the U.S. off the gold standard, which had made the dollar the world’s reserve currency – America salvaged that role by adopting the petrodollar.   Specifically, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia agreed that all oil and gas would be priced in dollars, so the rest of the world had to use dollars for most transactions.

But Reuters notes that Russia may be mere months away from signing a bilateral trade deal with China, where China would buy huge quantities of Russian oil and gas.

Zero Hedge argues:

Add bilateral trade denominated in either Rubles or Renminbi (or gold), add Iran, Iraq, India, and soon the Saudis (China’s largest foreign source of crude, whose crown prince also happened to meet president Xi Jinping last week to expand trade further) and wave goodbye to the petrodollar.

As we noted last year:

The average life expectancy for a fiat currency is less than 40 years.

But what about “reserve currencies”, like the U.S. dollar?

JP Morgan noted last year that “reserve currencies” have a limited shelf-life:

https://i2.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2013/10/Reserve%20Currency%20Status.png

As the table shows, U.S. reserve status has already lasted as long as Portugal and the Netherland’s reigns.  It won’t happen tomorrow, or next week … but the end of the dollar’s rein is coming nonetheless, and China and many other countries are calling for a new reserve currency.

Remember, China is entering into more and more major deals with other countries to settle trades in Yuans, instead of dollars.  This includes the European Union (the world’s largest economy) [and also Russia].

And China is quietly becoming a gold superpower

Given that China has surpassed the U.S. as the world’s largest importer of oil, Saudi Arabia is moving away from the U.S. … and towards China. (Some even argue that the world will switch from the petrodollar to the petroYUAN. We’re not convinced that will happen.)

In any event, a switch to pricing petroleum in anything other than dollars exclusively – whether a single alternative currency, gold, or even a mix of currencies or commodities – would spell the end of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

For that reason, Sinclair – no fan of either Russia or Putin – urges American leaders to back away from an economic confrontation with Russia, arguing that the U.S. would be the loser.

Forget Russia Dumping U.S. Treasuries … Here's the REAL Economic Threat Washington's Blog

Forget Russia Dumping U.S. Treasuries … Here’s the REAL Economic Threat Washington’s Blog.

Russia Could Crush the Petrodollar

Russia threatened to dump its U.S. treasuries if America imposed sanctions regarding Russia’s action in the Crimea.

Zero Hedge argues that Russia has already done so.

But veteran investor Jim Sinclair argues that Russia has a much scarier financial attack which Russia can use against the U.S.

Specifically, Sinclair says that if Russia accepts payment for oil and gas in any currency other than the dollar – whether it’s gold, the Euro, the Ruble, the Rupee, or anything else – then the U.S. petrodollar system will collapse:

Indeed, one of the main pillars for U.S. power is the petrodollar, and the U.S. is desperate for the dollar to maintain reserve status.  Some wise commentators have argued that recent U.S. wars have really been about keeping the rest of the world on the petrodollar standard.

The theory is that – after Nixon took the U.S. off the gold standard, which had made the dollar the world’s reserve currency – America salvaged that role by adopting the petrodollar.   Specifically, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia agreed that all oil and gas would be priced in dollars, so the rest of the world had to use dollars for most transactions.

But Reuters notes that Russia may be mere months away from signing a bilateral trade deal with China, where China would buy huge quantities of Russian oil and gas.

Zero Hedge argues:

Add bilateral trade denominated in either Rubles or Renminbi (or gold), add Iran, Iraq, India, and soon the Saudis (China’s largest foreign source of crude, whose crown prince also happened to meet president Xi Jinping last week to expand trade further) and wave goodbye to the petrodollar.

As we noted last year:

The average life expectancy for a fiat currency is less than 40 years.

But what about “reserve currencies”, like the U.S. dollar?

JP Morgan noted last year that “reserve currencies” have a limited shelf-life:

https://i2.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2013/10/Reserve%20Currency%20Status.png

As the table shows, U.S. reserve status has already lasted as long as Portugal and the Netherland’s reigns.  It won’t happen tomorrow, or next week … but the end of the dollar’s rein is coming nonetheless, and China and many other countries are calling for a new reserve currency.

Remember, China is entering into more and more major deals with other countries to settle trades in Yuans, instead of dollars.  This includes the European Union (the world’s largest economy) [and also Russia].

And China is quietly becoming a gold superpower

Given that China has surpassed the U.S. as the world’s largest importer of oil, Saudi Arabia is moving away from the U.S. … and towards China. (Some even argue that the world will switch from the petrodollar to the petroYUAN. We’re not convinced that will happen.)

In any event, a switch to pricing petroleum in anything other than dollars exclusively – whether a single alternative currency, gold, or even a mix of currencies or commodities – would spell the end of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

For that reason, Sinclair – no fan of either Russia or Putin – urges American leaders to back away from an economic confrontation with Russia, arguing that the U.S. would be the loser.

Expert Warns of Hyperinflation: “The American Way Of Life Will Be Destroyed”

Expert Warns of Hyperinflation: “The American Way Of Life Will Be Destroyed”.

Mac Slavo
February 17th, 2014
SHTFplan.com

If there’s one thing that’s certain about what’s happening in the world right now  it’s that uncertainty is pervading every aspect of the global economy. From fabricated employment statistics and consumer spending reports to obscene levels of debt and a failing domestic monetary policy, the writing is on the wall.

According to top Casey Research analyst Marin Katusa, who has met with energy ministers and business leaders in over 100 countries, it’s only a matter of time before the world’s reserve currency goes the way of the German Reichsmark and Zimbabwe Dollar.

What we’re talking about here is nothing short of an outright collapse of our banking system, hyperinflation of the US dollar, and a complete destruction of the world as we have come to know it.

This is a must-watch for those trying to understand what’s happening with the economic landscape, how to position yourself for an unprecedented paradigm shift in how Americans live their lives, what to expect as this crisis unfolds, and how to find opportunities when everyone else is in panic mode.

If the petro-dollar ends, the American way of life will be something that will be destroyed.

The inflation will be over 100% because Americans are getting their lifestyle subsidized by the rest of the world.

This is a very complicated issue… but to be summed up quickly, the world has already started trading commodities and oil, not in the petro-dollar.

And if the petro-dollar finally does die, the American way of life is gone.


(Full interview and transcript via Future Money Trends)

When that happens – when the rest of the world finally turns its back on the United States – you’d better be positioned in the right assets… tangible assets.

Failure to do so will leave you exposed to a financial collapse unlike anything we’ve ever seen in America.

You want to invest in gold… and that’s why you really want to invest in tangible assets… because the bank system will crash.

And I’m not trying to be a doom and gloom guy, this is just factual.

You want to invest in silver, and gold, and companies that produce what the rest of the world wants, which is gold and silver.

It should be clear that China, Russia, oil-producing nations and emerging markets are positioning themselves for exactly what Marin Katusa describes. They have already established unilateral agreements to replace their petro-dollar transactions with either their own currencies or gold. When the timing is right, they’ll pull the plug, at which point all hell will break loose.

The only assets that will survive the destruction will be physical goods such as those commodities essential to survival – food, energy, water, etc.

On the monetary front, when the dollar becomes worthless, confidence in the system itself will be lost on a global scale. We saw similar effects in 2008, when banks refused to lend to businesses, individuals and even themselves for fear of counter party risk. This will leave only one viable mechanism of exchange that will be trusted by trading partners. If you happen to own some, then while everyone else is trying to figure out how to acquire food or pay for other needs, you’ll be thriving.

Insiders and the well informed like Doug Casey, Rick Rule, and Eric Sprott who want to protect and preserve their wealth are already diversifying out dollar-denominated assets. Foreign governments are doing the same, to the tune of billions of dollars being used to buy up assets in the gold production and mining sector (something sovereign wealth funds also did back in late 2008 at the height of the crisis):

The money now is showing up. For example, Rick [Rule] went and got Korean money, and then also Chinese Money. That’s a billion and a half dollars that is coming in to this sector. K.K.R, a major fund, has now put up a billion and a half dollars to set up shop in Calgary for the junior resource sector. You see a lot of funds now, starting to say, “hey, we are getting back in to the junior resource sector because it is so cheap.”

If you go to the BRI website, they talk about all of the big shareholders. You have Tocqueville, Sprott, Sun Valley, KCR…

There’s a reason that well known investment firms run by contrarians like Sprott and Casey are buying gold. Because they know what is coming down the pike.

Yellen is going to continue where Bernanke left off, with the troubles. And the reality is, this is going to make a stronger bull market for gold and silver, and it’s going to be even a better market for the junior resource sector.

If gold and silver are heading to new highs it’s because something has gone terribly wrong in our economy and financial markets.

That being said, if gold is rising and the dollar is collapsing then in all likelihood we’ll see stratospheric price increases in everything from food to fuel, so preparing a contingency plan for this scenario is absolutely critical.

The scenario described here, as noted by Marin Katusa, is not just doom and gloom. It’s fact. The system as we know it is under pressure from all sides. When it implodes you’d better be ready.

Andrew Nikiforuk: Canada’s Petrostate Has “Dramatically Diminished Our International Reputation” | DeSmog Canada

Andrew Nikiforuk: Canada’s Petrostate Has “Dramatically Diminished Our International Reputation” | DeSmog Canada.

“Alberta is very much a petrostate,” says journalist and author Andrew Nikiforuk. “It gets about 30 per cent of its income from the oil and gas industry. So as a consequence, the government over time has tended more to represent this resource and the industry that produces it, than its citizens. This is very typical of a petrostate.”

The flow of money, he says, is at the heart of the issue. “When governments run on petro dollars or petro revenue instead of taxes then they kind of sever the link between taxation and representation, and if you’re not being taxed then you’re not being represented. And that’s what happens in petrostates and as a consequence they come to represent the oil and gas industry. Albert is a classic example of this kind of relationship.”

In this interview with DeSmog, Nikiforuk explains the basics of his petrostate thesis and asks why Canada, unlike any other democratic nation, hasn’t had a meaningful public debate about the Alberta oilsands and how they’ve come to shape the Canadian landscape, physically as much as politically.

Why The Risk of World War Is Rising Washington’s Blog

Why The Risk of World War Is Rising Washington’s Blog.

Can We Avoid the “Thucydides Trap” with China?

Top economic advisers are forecasting war and unrest.

They give the following reasons for their forecast:

  • Countries start wars to distract their populations from lousy economies
  • Currency and trade wars end up turning into shooting wars
  • The U.S. is still seeking to secure oil supplies, and the U.S. doesn’t like any country to leave the dollar standard

Additionally, the American policy of using the military to contain China’s growing economic influence – and of considering economic rivalry to be a basis for war – is creating a tinderbox.

As the New York Times noted in 2011:

For a superpower, dealing with the fast rise of a rich, brash competitor has always been an iffy thing.

Just ask … Thucydides, the Athenian historian whose tome on the Peloponnesian War has ruined many a college freshman’s weekend. The line they had to remember for the test was his conclusion: “What made war inevitable was the growth of Athenian power and the fear which this caused in Sparta.

So while no official would dare say so publicly as President Hu Jintao bounced from the White House to meetings with business leaders to factories in Chicago last week, his visit, from both sides’ points of view, was all about managing China’s rise and defusing the fears that it triggers. Both Mr. Hu and President Obama seemed desperate to avoid what Graham Allison of Harvard University has labeled “the Thucydides Trap” – that deadly combination of calculation and emotion that, over the years, can turn healthy rivalry into antagonism or worse.

Indeed, Allison writes:

The defining question about global order in the decades ahead will be: can China and the US escape Thucydides’s trap?

China is certainly aware of this potential dynamic for world war … and is eager to avoid it.    As Xinuanoted last July:

Greek historian Thucydides described the situation between Athens and Sparta as a combination of “rise” and “fear,” which inevitably resulted in war about 2,400 years ago. Over the past 500 years, when a rising power has challenged a ruling power, war has often followed, reinforcing the concept of “The Thucydides Trap.”

In the 21st century, however, China and the U.S. could and must avoid falling into this trap, especially against the backdrop of ever-deepening economic globalization and interdependence.

***

“The Thucydides Trap” offers a worthy caution, but it is not a tragedy that can not be avoided.

The 21st century will not necessarily mark the rise of China alongside the fall of the U.S., rather, through joint efforts, the two sides can see the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, U.S. recovery and a developing world, simultaneously.

And the China Post made a similar point last June.

Obviously, the dispute between China and Japan over oil-rich islands – with the U.S. backing Japan – is a complicated one. Indeed, Japan is threatening to seize another 280 islands whose claim is disputed.

Given that China passed Japan as the world’s second biggest economy in 2010, Thucydides’s trap could very well apply to Japan’s fear and hatred of China’s economic growth.

And China’s threat to “take back” an island occupied by another close U.S. ally – the Philippines – could be another potential flashpoint in Chinese-U.S. relations.

It seems like the U.S. and China are drifting towards war over the long-term, as proxy disputes with Japan, the Philippines and other countries cannot remain cool forever without accident or incident.

Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail on all sides …

China Fires Shot Across Petrodollar Bow: Shanghai Futures Exchange May Price Crude Oil Futures In Yuan | Zero Hedge

China Fires Shot Across Petrodollar Bow: Shanghai Futures Exchange May Price Crude Oil Futures In Yuan | Zero Hedge.

With the US shale revolution set to make America the largest exporter of crude, however briefly, the influence of Saudi oil is rapidly declining. This has been felt most recently in the cold shoulder the US gave Saudi Arabia and Qatar first over the Syrian debacle, and subsequently in its overtures to break the ice with Iran over the stern objections of Israel and the Saudi lobby (for a good example of this the most recent soundbites by Prince bin Talal ). But despite the shifting commodity winds and the superficial political jawboning, the reality is that nothing threatens the US dollar’s hegemony in what many claim is the biggest pillar of the currency’s reserve status – the petrodollar, which literally makes the USD the only currency in which energy-strapped countries can transact in to purchase energy. This may be changing soon following news that the Shanghai Futures Exchange could price its crude oil futures contract in yuan, its chairman said on Thursday, adding that the bourse is speeding up preparatory work to secure regulatory approvals.

 In doing so China is effectively lobbing the first shot across the bow of the Petrodollar system, and more importantly, the key support of the USD in the international arena.

This would be in keeping with China’s strategy to import about 100 tons of gross gold each and every month, in addition to however much gold it produces internally, in what many have also seen as a preparation for a gold-backed currency, which however would require a far broader acceptance of the renminbi in the international arena and most importantly, its intermediation in a crude pricing loop. It is precisely the latter that China is starting to focus on.

Reuters reports:

China, which overtook the United States as the world’s top oil importer in September, hopes the contract will become a benchmark in Asia and has said it would allow foreign investors to trade in the contract without setting up a local subsidiary.

 

“China is the only country in the world that is a major crude producer, consumer and a big importer. It has all the necessary conditions to establish a successful crude oil futures contract,” Yang Maijun, SHFE chairman, said at an industry conference.

 

Yang’s presentation slides at the conference stated that the draft proposal is for the contract to be denominated in yuan and use the type of medium sour crude that China most commonly imports.

It is hardly panic time yet: Reuters adds that industry participants with direct knowledge of the plan have said the contract would be priced in the yuan, otherwise known as the Renminbi, and the U.S. dollar. However, one can argue that the CNY-pricing is for now a test to gauge acceptance of the Chinese currency, and will take on increasingly more prominence as more and more countries, first in Asia and then everywhere else, opt for the CNY-denomination and in the process boost the Renminbi to ever greater parity with the USD.

Here are the punchlines:

“The yuan has become more international and more recognised by the financial market,” Chen Bo, Chinese trading firm Unipec’s executive general manager, told Reuters.

 

“I don’t think it would be unacceptable for the world to use the renminbi for commodities trading.”

Certainly not, although it would also entail a depegging the CNY from the USD, something which China is for now unable and unwilling to do. Because once the Yuan is freely priced, kiss all those Wal-Mart “99 cent” deals goodbye.

Which in retrospect may be just what the US wants: a very gradual and controlled dephasing of the USD’s reserve currency status. Recall that what the Fed wants at any cost is inflation which has so far failed to materialize at the level demanded by the Chair(wo)man thanks in part to cheap Chinese goods and ongoing US exporting of inflation to China. So if that means a spike in the prices of China imports – so key to keeping US inflation in check – so be it. Because we can already see the Fed’s thinking on the matter – certainly it will be able to always restore the USD’s supreme status in “15 minutes” or less when it so chooses.

Of course, by then China, and the Petroyuan, may have a very different view on the world.

 

The Growing Rift With Saudi Arabia Threatens To Severely Damage The Petrodollar

The Growing Rift With Saudi Arabia Threatens To Severely Damage The Petrodollar. (source)

The number one American export is U.S. dollars.  It is paper currency that is backed up by absolutely nothing, but the rest of the world has been using it to trade with one another and so there is tremendous global demand for our dollars.  The linchpin of this system is the petrodollar.  For decades, if you have wanted to buy oil virtually anywhere in the world you have had to do so with U.S. dollars.  But if one of the biggest oil exporters on the planet, such as Saudi Arabia, decided to start accepting other currencies as payment for oil, the petrodollar monopoly would disintegrate very rapidly.  For years, everyone assumed that nothing like that would happen any time soon, but now Saudi officials are warning of a “major shift” in relations with the United States.  In fact, the Saudis are so upset at the Obama administration that “all options” are reportedly “on the table”.  If it gets to the point where the Saudis decide to make a major move away from the petrodollar monopoly, it will be absolutely catastrophic for the U.S. economy.

The biggest reason why having good relations with Saudi Arabia is so important to the United States is because the petrodollar monopoly will not work without them.  For decades, Washington D.C. has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep the Saudis happy.  But now the Saudis are becoming increasingly frustrated that the U.S. military is not being usedto fight their wars for them.  The following is from a recent Daily Mail report

Upset at President Barack Obama’s policies on Iran and Syria, members of Saudi Arabia’s ruling family are threatening a rift with the United States that could take the alliance between Washington and the kingdom to its lowest point in years.

Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief is vowing that the kingdom will make a ‘major shift’ in relations with the United States to protest perceived American inaction over Syria’s civil war as well as recent U.S. overtures to Iran, a source close to Saudi policy said on Tuesday.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan told European diplomats that the United States had failed to act effectively against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was growing closer to Tehran, and had failed to back Saudi support for Bahrain when it crushed an anti-government revolt in 2011, the source said.

Saudi Arabia desperately wants the U.S. military to intervene in the Syrian civil war on the side of the “rebels”.  This has not happened yet, and the Saudis are very upset about that.

Of course the Saudis could always go and fight their own war, but that is not the way that the Saudis do things.

So since the Saudis are not getting their way, they are threatening to punish the U.S. for their inaction.  According to Reuters, the Saudis are saying that “all options are on the table now”…

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, ploughs much of its earnings back into U.S. assets. Most of the Saudi central bank’s net foreign assets of $690 billion are thought to be denominated in dollars, much of them in U.S. Treasury bonds.

“All options are on the table now, and for sure there will be some impact,” the Saudi source said.

Sadly, most Americans have absolutely no idea how important all of this is.  If the Saudis break the petrodollar monopoly, it would severely damage the U.S. economy.  For those that do not fully understand the importance of the petrodollar, the following is a good summary of how the petrodollar works from an article by Christopher Doran

In a nutshell, any country that wants to purchase oil from an oil producing country has to do so in U.S. dollars. This is a long standing agreement within all oil exporting nations, aka OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The UK for example, cannot simply buy oil from Saudi Arabia by exchanging British pounds. Instead, the UK must exchange its pounds for U.S. dollars. The major exception at present is, of course, Iran.

This means that every country in the world that imports oil—which is the vast majority of the world’s nations—has to have immense quantities of dollars in reserve. These dollars of course are not hidden under the proverbial national mattress. They are invested. And because they are U.S. dollars, they are invested in U.S. Treasury bills and other interest bearing securities that can be easily converted to purchase dollar-priced commodities like oil. This is what has allowed the U.S. to run up trillions of dollars of debt: the rest of the world simply buys up that debt in the form of U.S. interest bearing securities.

This arrangement works out very well for the United States because we can wildly print money and run up gigantic amounts of debt and the rest of the world gobbles it all up.

In 2012, the United States ran a trade deficit of about $540,000,000,000 with the rest of the planet.  In other words, about half a trillion more dollars left the country than came into the country.  These dollars represent the number one “product” that the U.S. exports.  We make dollars and exchange them for the things that we need.  Major exporting countries (such as Saudi Arabia) take many of those dollars and “invest” them in our debt at ultra-low interest rates.  It is this system that makes our massively inflated standard of living possible.

When this system ends, the era of cheap imports and super low interest rates will be over and the “adjustment” to our standard of living will be excruciatingly painful.

And without a doubt, the day is rapidly approaching when the petrodollar monopoly will end.

Today, Russia is the number one exporter of oil in the world.

China is now the number one importer of oil in the world, and at this point they are actually importing more oil from Saudi Arabia than the United States is.

So why should Russia, China and virtually everyone else continue to be forced to use U.S. dollars to trade oil?

That is a very good question.

In fact, China has been making a whole lot of noise recently about the fact that it is time to start becoming less dependent on the U.S. dollar.  The following comes from a recent CNBC article authored by Michael Pento

Our addictions to debt and cheap money have finally caused our major international creditors to call for an end to dollar hegemony and to push for a “de-Americanized” world.

China, the largest U.S. creditor with $1.28 trillion in Treasury bonds, recently put out a commentary through the state-run Xinhua news agency stating that, “Such alarming days when the destinies of others are in the hands of a hypocritical nation have to be terminated.”

For much more on all of this, please see my previous article entitled “9 Signs That China Is Making A Move Against The U.S. Dollar“.

But you very rarely hear anything about this on the evening news, and most Americans do not understand these things at all.  The fact that the U.S. produces the de facto reserve currency of the planet is an absolutely massive advantage for us.  According to John Mauldin, this advantage allows us to consume far more wealth than we actually produce…

What that means in practical terms is that the United States can purchase more with its currency than it produces and sells. In theory those accounts should balance. But the world’s reserve currency, for all intent and purposes, becomes a product. The world needs dollars in order to conduct its trade. Today, if someone in Peru wants to buy something from Thailand, they first convert their local currency into US dollars and then purchase the product with those dollars. Those dollars eventually wind up at the Central Bank of Thailand, which includes them in its reserve balance. When someone in Thailand wants to purchase an imported product, their bank accesses those dollars, which may go anywhere in the world that will take the US dollar, which is to say pretty much anywhere.

And as Mauldin went on to explain in that same article, a significant amount of the money that we ship out to the rest of the globe ends up getting reinvested in U.S. government debt…

That privilege allows US citizens to purchase goods and services at prices somewhat lower than those people in the rest of the world must pay. We can produce electronic fiat dollars, and the rest of the world accepts them because they need them to in order to trade with each other. And they do so because they trust the dollar more than they do any other currency that is readily available. You can take those dollars and come to the United States and purchase all manner of goods, including real estate and stocks. Just this week a Chinese company spent $600 million to buy a building in New York City. Such transactions happen all the time.

And there is one other item those dollars are used to pay for: US Treasury bonds. We buy oil and all manner of goods with our electronic dollars, and those dollars typically end up on the reserve balance sheets of other central banks, which buy our government bonds. It’s hard to quantify the exact amount, but these transactions significantly lower the cost of borrowing for the US government. On a $16 trillion debt, every basis point (1/10 of 1%) means a saving of $16 billion annually. So 5 basis points would be $80 billion a year. There are credible estimates that the savings are well in excess of $100 billion a year. Thus, as the debt grows, the savings also grow! That also means the total debt compounds at a lower rate.

Unfortunately, this system only works if the rest of the planet has faith in it, and right now the United States is systematically destroying the faith that the rest of the world has in our financial system.

One way that this is being done is by our reckless accumulation of debt.  The U.S. national debt is now 37 times larger than it was 40 years ago, and we are on pace to accumulate more new debt under the 8 years of the Obama administration than we did under all of the other presidents in U.S. history combined.  The rest of the world is watching this and they are beginning to wonder if we are going to be able to pay them back the money that we owe them.

Quantitative easing is another factor that is severely damaging worldwide faith in the U.S. financial system.  The rest of the globe is watching as the Federal Reserve wildly prints up money and monetizes our debt.  They are beginning to wonder why they should continue to loan us gobs of money at super low interest rates when we are beginning to resemble the Weimar Republic.

The long-term damage that we are doing to the “U.S. brand” far, far outweighs any short-term benefits of quantitative easing.

And as Richard Koo has brilliantly demonstrated, quantitative easing is going to cause long-term interest rates to eventually rise much higher than they normally should have.

What all of this means is that the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve are systematically destroying the financial system that has enabled us to enjoy such a high standard of living for the past several decades.

Yes, the U.S. economy is not doing well at the moment, but we haven’t seen anything yet.  When the monopoly of the petrodollar is broken, it is going to be absolutely devastating.

And as I wrote about the other day, when the next great economic crisis strikes it is going to pull back the curtain and reveal the rot and decay that have been eating away at the social fabric of America for a very long time.

Just check out what happened in Detroit recently.  The new police chief was almost carjacked while he was sitting in a clearly marked police vehicle…

Just four months on the job, Detroit’s new police chief got an early taste of the city’s hardscrabble streets.

While in his patrol car at an intersection on Jefferson two weeks ago, Police Chief James Craig was nearly carjacked, police spokeswoman Kelly Miner confirmed today.

Craig said he was in a marked police car with mounted lights when a man quickly tried to approach the side of his car. Craig, who became police chief in June, retold the story Monday during a program designed to crack down on carjackings.

Isn’t that crazy?

These days, the criminals are not even afraid to go after the police while they are sitting in their own vehicles.

And this is just the beginning.  Things are going to get much, much worse than this.

So let us hope that this period of relative stability that we are enjoying right now will last for as long as possible.

The times ahead are going to be extremely challenging, and I hope that you are getting ready for them.

 

The U.S. Debt Ceiling Has Been Suspended | project chesapeake

The U.S. Debt Ceiling Has Been Suspended | project chesapeake. (source)

The U.S. Debt Ceiling Has Been Suspended

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By: Tom Chatham

When is a debt ceiling not a ceiling? When it has been removed. That is the solution that was enacted on Wednesday night to fund the government for the next 90 days. This will last from Oct. 17, 2013 until Feb. 7, 2014. This has some very dangerous implications for Americans. It means as of right now there is no debt ceiling and the federals can spend as much as they like. With all of the previous spending by DHS, and the impending economic crash that we face in the near future, it is terrifying to think what the federals might buy in the next 90 days that they can use against American citizens.

With this scenario in place the writing is on the wall and foreigners can read it well even if Americans cannot. The dumping of treasuries will likely increase substantially over the next few months as the collapse becomes evident to everyone but Americans. This is the end game and most people don’t even know they are in it.

With the debt ceiling removed even temporarily, the government has the ability to overspend and when the ceiling is reinstated in 90 days any new debt over the current limit will not be debatable. The limit will automatically have to be raised to that amount. That is why President Obama answered “no” when asked if there would be a renewed debt debate next year. He knows he can bypass it. When the time comes for the House to raise the debt limit they will either have to raise it to encompass the additional spending or not raise it and possibly trigger a default. Either way the Democrats can blame the Republicans for the additional debt increase or a default.

It could go something like this. The government decides how much extra money they will need until after the elections next year and borrow it now. The money is dispersed into the usual slush funds until needed to avoid any new debt debates before the election. The Republicans will lose the ability to stop uncontrolled government growth next year and the Democrats will deprive them of any debt debates before Nov. This will give the Democrats a big edge in the elections and could allow them to take some seats in the house. Not that changing from one party to the other will change anything, it will just determine how fast we collapse.

By this time next year I suspect the Petrodollar will be on life support if not completely dead and high inflation will be rearing its’ ugly head. The governments answer to this will be price controls which will lead to shortages. Then things go downhill fast from there. That’s if we actually make it to next fall without a serious incident in the U.S. before then.

These are truly perilous times for the U.S. and everyone should prepare as they deem appropriate. The west line has shifted and we are now on the trailing edge of history. If we are to survive as a nation and prosper again we must learn to operate with a smaller more efficient economy as others before us have done. This will entail a smaller more localized economy with more small producers and a stable medium of exchange. The only alternative is to become a failed third world nation with no future.

 

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