I have long wondered “what” exactly the black swan event would be that tips the global financial system from its tight rope. I/we don’t exactly know what went on behind the scenes to prompt China to publicly call for a new reserve currency and for a new world order that “de Americanizes” the world…but something has. Is it because China has done the math and come to the conclusion that no matter what happens with the debt ceiling that the U.S. simply cannot make good on its promises? Have they been told that no more gold will be delivered? Or have they purchased gold and the delivery time has been extended too far? Have they been prompted by other countries collectively to pull the plug because they are fed up? Have they purchased an amount of gold that they deem to be “enough?” Do they see the U.S. “weakened” enough?
There are many more possibilities and questions but the point is this; China has now publicly spoken of stripping the U.S. of the privilege of issuing the worlds reserve currency. From a financial standpoint I know of nothing, NOTHING as big as or more important to the future of the U.S. than having this privilege. If this proposal by China does come to fruition, “our” world is going to change. It will change BIG time and it will change for the worse, MUCH worse. If you think this through it means that our trading partners can “just say no.” “No” to accepting dollars as trade for their real goods which are shipped to the U.S. They can instead ask for something “real” in return for their trade. The problem is that we no longer make much of anything that is real and instead we get fat and lazy knowing that we could trade by simply creating and exporting “dollars.” As I have written many times before, I called this arrangement the “never pay model” where we never actually settle up…we just promise and keep sending more and more dollars. It looks as if China wants to change the game to one where we actually do have to pay with something, anything…but dollars!
Inflation will come back home to roost where it was originally created in the first place. I have had several people ask me to explain this and I will try from 2 different but similar directions. First, if the dollar loses its reserve status then demand for dollars will drop. This drop in demand will not nor can be met with a lower supply because the Fed must keep the asset markets from deflating. Internationally, dollars will be sold because they will no longer be needed to settle trade between non-dollar entities. This selling of dollars will put “pressure” on its price (purchasing power) versus other currencies. As an example, dollars will be sold for Euros, Rubles, Yuan or whatever which will create demand for these other currencies at the expense of the dollar. Basically, it will take more dollars to buy foreign goods or to buy foreign currencies to make settlement with. Inflation!
Another way to look at this is that dollars will finally “come home.” As dollars are “sold” they will come back to our borders in the form of purchasing what we have to sell. More dollars will be sloshing around within our borders… (more dollars chasing the same amount of goods)…again, inflation. Yes, the Fed will be overwhelmed in their efforts to sop up the supply of existing dollars presented by foreigners at our borders. The previously “exported” inflation will finally come back home to where it was originally created.
As my title implies I believe it is all coming to a head and China is finally emboldened enough to pull the plug. We will surely have an interesting week ahead watching the Washington DC circus acts leading up to a debt ceiling increase. We also have quite serious potential unrest as veterans have taken barricades from memorials and placed them outside of the White House while truckers have descended Washington at the same time. Police in riot gear and even snipers on roof tops have been positioned. This could get ugly quickly but this is only a small piece to the puzzle. The debt ceiling issue is another piece albeit somewhat larger. China and what the rest of the world decides to do on the other hand is huge and by far THE biggest piece of all. “When,” not if the dollar is finally replaced as the reserve currency will be THE biggest financial event of our lifetimes and the biggest event since 1944.
No matter how this gets spun it will NOT be pleasant for the U.S. There is no upside for the U.S. and our standard of living will decline. The only question that will remain is “by how much?”