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China Tries to Muscle in on Dollar as Dominant ‘Payments Currency,’ But It’s a Thankless Slog

China Tries to Muscle in on Dollar as Dominant ‘Payments Currency,’ But It’s a Thankless Slog

Dollar Hegemony is a tough nut to crack.

China is taking another baby step in promoting the internationalization of the renminbi and nibble on the hegemony of the US dollar: It’s pushing a proposal to add a pile of yuan to the $240 billion currency swap agreement between ASEAN plus China, Japan, and South Korea, in order reduce the system’s reliance on the US dollar and to enhance its own economic clout in the region, according to the Nikkei.

On May 2, the finance ministers and central bankers of ASEAN – Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar – along with those from China, Japan, and Korea will meet in Fiji to discuss modifications to the swap agreement, the Chiang Mai Initiative.

China, which co-chairs the meeting with Thailand, has added language to the draft joint statement concerning use of Asian-currency contributions to the pool – which for now is still entirely in dollars – as “one option” to enhance the swap arrangement.

“Allowing participants to access Asian currencies in an emergency could encourage their use in other contexts, including foreign exchange reserves, the thinking goes,” the Nikkei said. “The idea also anticipates a long-term rise in demand for these currencies in regional investment and trade.”

“China in particular sees it as another step on the path to internationalizing the yuan and expanding its economic influence in the region. But the proposal is likely to be complicated by U.S. alarm at the prospect of Beijing expanding its currency’s role at the dollar’s expense.”

The Chiang Mai Initiative was a response to the 1997 Asian currency crisis. It consists of a pool of US dollars, contributed by members, that members can draw on when their currencies come under attack. Since its establishment in 2000, the dollar pool has been increased to $240 billion. China is now lobbying the other members to add yuan and yen to that pool.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Currencies threatened by a credit crisis

Currencies threatened by a credit crisis 

In this article I draw attention to the similarities between the current economic situation and that of 1929, and the threat to today’s unbacked currencies. There is the coincidence of trade protectionism with the top of the credit cycle, and there are the inflationary events that preceded it. The principal difference today is in modern macroeconomic delusions, which hold that regulating inflation of money and credit is the solution to all ills. I conclude that economic salvation can only come from ditching today’s macroeconomic theories and by returning to monetary stability through credible gold exchange standards.

Introduction

There is an assumption in economic circles that when the general level of prices changes, it is always due to changes in supply and demand for goods and services. Prices change all the time, but without a change in the public’s preference for or against holding money and with all else being equal, the general level of prices simply cannot change. Changes in the general level of prices are due to changes in the purchasing power of the money, which stems from the public’s preferences for or against it and do not emanate from goods and services.

This may not at first sight appear to matter, but it calls into question the widespread assumption that price changes are only due to changes in supply and demand for goods and services. It is a basic error behind modern monetary theory (MMT), whose supporters are busy reviving Georg Knapp’s Chartalist theories of money, the theories that permitted Bismarck’s inflationary pre-war armament financing and the subsequent collapse of the German currency in 1923. Believers in a divine right for the state to issue currency will not let themselves be distracted by inconvenient facts. MMT followers are only one group of neo-Keynesian inflationists, who are generally blind to the blunders of their revisionist economics.

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DEBT is the Achilles Heel of the globalist establishment… and pulling your money out of the banking system is the way to deal a DEATH BLOW to tyranny

Image: DEBT is the Achilles Heel of the globalist establishment… and pulling your money out of the banking system is the way to deal a DEATH BLOW to tyranny

(Natural News) After U.S. markets peaked in September nearly two years after Donald Trump’s victory came with the promise (and delivery) of pro-growth policies, investors got a scare in December when several factors combined with interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve to drive down indexes.

The Dow Jones, Nasdaq, and the S&P 500 all finished the year lower than they were in September. Worse, there are predictions that 2019 could hit markets harder. 

Bank of America just polled 234 panelists who manage more than $645 billion in investments where they think global growth is heading over the next 12 months, and 60 percent said it will be negative. 

On top of this potential nightmare scenario is the fact that governments around the world comprising the largest economies have nearly all become debtor nations that are one economic calamity away from global collapse.

As noted by Robert Gore at The Burning Platform blog, France’s Yellow Vest protesters may have inadvertently hit upon a way to bring about the collapse of the fiat money and debt system that is sustaining the very governments which increasingly suppress the people they are supposed to serve.

Gore notes that in recent days the French protesters — whom, you recall, took to the streets in response to a massive gasoline tax pushed by President Emmanuel Macron to fund France’s contributions to combat “global warming” agreed to at the Paris Accords in 2015 — have advocated a run on the country’s banks. Such a run, if it occurs, could actually start a chain reaction that would spread to other ostensibly wealthy countries including the United States.

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The Stock Market Just Crashed In Italy, And Argentina Has Panic-Raised Interest Rates To 65 Percent

The Stock Market Just Crashed In Italy, And Argentina Has Panic-Raised Interest Rates To 65 Percent

In the 9th largest economy in the world, the financial markets are crashing, and in the 21st largest economy in the world the central bank just raised interest rates to 65 percent to support a currency that is completely imploding.  While the mainstream media in the United States continues to be obsessed with all things Kavanaugh, an international financial crisis threatens to spiral out of control.  Stock prices are falling and currencies are collapsing all over the planet, but because the U.S. has been largely unaffected so far the mainstream media is mostly choosing to ignore what is happening.  But the truth is that this is serious.  The financial crisis in Italy threatens to literally tear the EU apart, and South America has become an economic horror show.  The situation in Brazil continues to get worse, the central bank of Argentina has just raised interest rates to 65 percent, and in Venezuela starving people are literally eating cats and dogs in order to survive.  How bad do things have to get before people will start paying attention?

On Friday, Italian stocks had their worst day in more than two years, and it was the big financial stocks that were on the cutting edge of the carnage

Shares in Italian banks .FTIT8300, whose big sovereign bond portfolios makes them sensitive to political risk, bore the brunt of selling pressure, sinking 7.3 percent as government bonds sold off and the focus turned to rating agencies.

Along with the main Italian stock index .FTMIB, the banks had their worst day since the June 2016 Brexit vote triggered a selloff across markets.

Italian bonds got hit extremely hard too.  The following comes from Business Insider

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Venezuela Has Officially Abandoned The Petrodollar – Does This Make War With Venezuela More Likely?

Venezuela Has Officially Abandoned The Petrodollar – Does This Make War With Venezuela More Likely?

Venezuela is the 11th largest oil producing country in the entire world, and it has just announced that it is going to stop using the petrodollar.  Most Americans don’t even know what the petrodollar is, but for those of you that do understand what I am talking about, this should send a chill up your spine.  The petrodollar is one of the key pillars of the global financial system, and it allows us to live a far higher standard of living than we actually deserve.  The dominance of the petrodollar has been very jealously guarded by our government in the past, and that is why many are now concerned that this move by Venezuela could potentially lead us to war.

I don’t know why this isn’t headline news all over the country, but it should be.  One of the few major media outlets that is reporting on this is the Wall Street Journal

The government of this oil-rich but struggling country, looking for ways to circumvent U.S. sanctions, is telling oil traders that it will no longer receive or send payments in dollars, people familiar with the new policy have told The Wall Street Journal.

Before we go any further, we should discuss what we mean by the “petrodollar” for those that are not familiar with the concept.  The following comes from an excellent 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.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Currency Armageddon? A Word about the Hated Dollar

Currency Armageddon? A Word about the Hated Dollar

The “death of the dollar” will have to be rescheduled.

Sharply higher yields on Treasury securities and the prospect of more rate hikes by the Fed – in a world where other major central banks are still stewing innocent bystanders in the juices of NIRP, negative yields, and “punishment interest” – sent the hated dollar, whose death has been promised for a long time, soaring.

It soared against the euro. Or, seen from the other side, the euro plunged against the dollar, to $1.039, the lowest level since January 2003; down 35% from its peak of $1.60 during the Financial Crisis; down 10% from its 52-week high in March of $1.16; and down 2.7% from $1.068 yesterday before the Fed announcement.

Pundits are once again declaring that the euro will fall to “parity” with the dollar, as the ECB has been wishing for a long time, though it cannot admit officially that it is trying to crush the euro to give member states an export advantage. That would be “currency manipulation,” which is frowned upon in other countries. But a big wave of “money printing” and forcing yields below zero “to stimulate the economy,” whereby the currency gets crushed as a side effect, is OK.

Tourist destinations and flagship retailers in the US watch out: for your euro tourist customers, things are getting very expensive in the US, and some may choose to buy less or travel to cheaper countries.

The yen plunged 3% since the Fed announcement to ¥118.4 to the dollar. It’s down 15% since September. But it’s still higher than it had been in mid-2015, when it had sunk as low as ¥123 to the dollar.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Confidence Game Is Ending

The Confidence Game Is Ending

Immediately after the Fed hiked interest rates last Wednesday – after sitting at 0% for 7 years – markets acted pretty much as one might expect. The Fed tightens monetary policy when the economy is strong so rising stock prices, rising interest rates and a strong dollar are all things that make sense in that context. I am sure there were high fives all around the FOMC conference room. Too bad it didn’t last more than one afternoon. By the close Friday, the Dow had fallen nearly 700 points from its post FOMC high, the 10 year Treasury note yield dropped 13 basis points, junk bonds resumed their decline and the dollar was basically unchanged. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the Fed’s assessment of the US economy.

I’m not saying the Fed’s rate hike is what caused the negative market reaction Thursday and Friday. The die for the economy has likely already been cast and right now it doesn’t look like a particularly promising roll. Raising a rate that no one is using by 25 basis points is not the difference between expansion and contraction. And a bit over a 3% drop in stocks isn’t normally much to concern oneself with; a 700 point move in the Dow ain’t what it used to be.

The pre-existing conditions for the rate hike were not what anyone would have preferred. The yield curve is flattening, credit spreads are blowing out and the incoming economic data is not improving. Inflation is running at a fraction of the Fed’s preferred rate and falling oil prices have been neither transitory nor positive for the economy, at least so far. The Fed is not unaware of this backdrop – they may not like it or acknowledge it publicly but they aren’t blind – but seems to have decided the financial instability consequences of keeping rates at zero longer are greater than any potential benefit. A sobering thought that.

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Will the Fed Have to Save Emerging Markets with QE4?

Will the Fed Have to Save Emerging Markets with QE4?

The risk-off tide is rising, and sand castles of QE will only hold the tide back for a brief period of apparent calm.

A funny thing happened on the way to permanently expanding global markets: unintended consequences. Borrowing cheap, abundant U.S. dollars seemed like a good idea when the dollar was declining, and few voiced any concern when $9 trillion was borrowed in USD-denominated debt around the world in the years since 2009.

Few saw the possibility of the USD rising, or that if it did appreciate against other currencies, that the blowback would destabilize the global economy.

It turns out a strengthening USD has triggered capital flight as other currencies devalue. Anyone propping up their currency to stem the flood tide faces another unintended consequence–a faltering export sector: China: Doomed If You Do, Doomed If You Don’t (September 1, 2015).

Meanwhile, the Imperial economy is suffering its own spate of unintended consequences, notably rising yields, a.k.a. quantitative tightening. As emerging markets and nations attempting to defend their currency pegs to the USD sell U.S. Treasury bonds (which have been held as foreign exchange reserves), the yields on the Treasuries rise as a matter of supply and demand.

As supply increases, sellers must offer higher yields to entice buyers to soak up the inventory.

This increase in yields reverses the primary effect of quantitative easing, i.e. declining yields/interest rates in the U.S.

This dynamic undermines both the emerging markets and the U.S. Emerging markets are not really restored to growth by selling Treasuries; the strong dollar continues to crush their currencies and dampen growth, as assets must be sold to pay back debt borrowed in USD.

Rising rates threaten the feeble U.S. “recovery” as well.

So what’s the solution to this inconvenient dynamic? QE4, of course. Why would the Federal Reserve launch QE4, if not to push rates down in the U.S.?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

These Currencies Could Be The Next To Tumble In Global FX Wars

These Currencies Could Be The Next To Tumble In Global FX Wars

Earlier this week, Kazakhstan moved to a free float for the tenge, prompting the currency to plunge by some 25%.

The move came after the country’s exporters could no longer stand the pain from plunging crude prices and the RUB’s relative weakness. China’s move to devalue the yuan was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Here, summed up in one chart, was the problem:

This “may prop up growth in the country and help [the] fiscal sector to accommodate external pressures in case they continue to mount,” Deutsche Bank said, commenting shortly after the news hit.

In many ways, the decision to float the tenge (like the move by Vietnam to allow the dong to swing in a wider channel) is emblematic of what’s taking place in FX markets from Brazil to South Korea.

Shockwaves from China’s devaluation have conspired with sluggish global demand and an attendant commodities slump to wreak havoc on developing market currencies the world over. For Asia ex-Japan, the outlook is especially dire, as the PBoC’s FX bombshell threatens to undermine regional export competitiveness, put upward pressure on the region’s REER, and will likely serve to further depress demand from the mainland.

Idiosyncratic political events have only made the situation worse for the likes of Brazil, Turkey, and Malaysia.

Here are some brief comments from Citi:

Is this Asian Currency Crisis Part 2? It sure feels like it. It would be more accurate to call it the Great EM Deval-Meltdown as emerging market currencies are in freefall and another peg bites the dust overnight (Kazakhstan). There are few pegs left besides Saudi Arabia and EURCZK and both are under pressure. The 1-year SAR forwards are at 12-year wides and EURCZK is pinned to the 27.00 floor. Take a look at the white chart below right which shows Malaysian Ringgit and you can get a sense of the 1997/1998 crisis vs. now. 

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Greece Fallout: Italy and Spain Have Funded a Massive Backdoor Bailout of French Banks

Greece Fallout: Italy and Spain Have Funded a Massive Backdoor Bailout of French Banks

Greece France Spain and Italy

In March 2010, two months before the announcement of the first Greek bailout, European banks had €134 billion worth ofclaims on Greece.  French banks, as shown in the right-hand figure above, had by far the largest exposure: €52 billion – this was 1.6 times that of Germany, eleven times that of Italy, and sixty-two times that of Spain.

The €110 billion of loans provided to Greece by the IMF and Eurozone in May 2010 enabled Greece to avoid default on its obligations to these banks.  In the absence of such loans, France would have been forced into a massive bailout of its banking system.  Instead, French banks were able virtually to eliminate their exposure to Greece by selling bonds, allowing bonds to mature, and taking partial write-offs in 2012.  The bailout effectively mutualized much of their exposure within the Eurozone.

The impact of this backdoor bailout of French banks is being felt now, with Greece on the precipice of an historic default.  Whereas in March 2010 about 40% of total European lending to Greece was via French banks, today only 0.6% is.  Governments have filled the breach, but not in proportion to their banks’ exposure in 2010.  Rather, it is in proportion to their paid-up capital at the ECB – which in France’s case is only 20%.

In consequence, France has actually managed to reduce its total Greek exposure – sovereign and bank – by €8 billion, as seen in the main figure above.  In contrast, Italy, which had virtually no exposure to Greece in 2010 now has a massive one: €39 billion.  Total German exposure is up by a similar amount – €35 billion.  Spain has also seen its exposure rocket from nearly nothing in 2009 to €25 billion today.

In short, France has managed to use the Greek bailout to offload €8 billion in junk debt onto its neighbors and burden them with tens of billions more in debt they could have avoided had Greece simply been allowed to default in 2010.  The upshot is that Italy and Spain are much closer to financial crisis today than they should be.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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