We have watched for years as China grew in strength economically, financially and militarily. They have pre positioned themselves by making trade deals, setting up credit facilities and even an alternative clearing system to the West’s “SWIFT”. We also know China has been gobbling up global mine supply of gold for going on 10 years now. As I’ve written in the past, just using the back of a napkin, it can be surmised they now have hoarded 20,000 tons or more compared to the “supposed” 8,133 tons held by the U.S..
It is clear China has meticulously readied themselves to take the role of world leadership from the U.S. but do they really want the responsibility AND burden of issuing the reserve currency? This has always been the question and the answer from logical thinkers is “no”. No, because we (and of course China) have seen the result of the “burdens” that comes along with the privilege of issuing the reserve currency. I must confess, I too did not believe China would desire or even accept the responsibility of reserve currency status. I now believe this thought is mistaken! I will explain shortly.
The announcement of “yuan for oil, convertible into gold” is a game changer http://www.zerohedge.com . China imports about 8 million barrels of oil per day, this works out to 3 billion barrels per year. At $50 per barrel, the oil trade by China is about $150 billion per year. If we compare that to total global production of gold, we find the 80 million ounces produced and priced at $1,300 currently amounts to just over $100 billion. In other words, China consumes more oil (in dollar terms) than ALL the gold produced in the world. Think about this for a moment, at current pricing, just one country uses more oil than the entire world produces money? Does the word “reset” at all come to mind?
Taking just one step back, China has over the last few years imported roughly 2,000 tons of gold per year. If we add India’s imports of roughly 1,000 tons per year, we see combined they are importing more than the 2,500 that are produced. These numbers by themselves illustrate that the gold supply had to come from somewhere …and that “somewhere” can only be from Western vaults. In order to extend and pretend their financial systems and currencies were sound, the West (led by the U.S.) has been bleeding their gold reserves.
Now, getting back to China, here is why I believe they are leading the world BACK to a gold standard! If China imports oil and pays with yuan and offers their yuan “convertible” into gold, how many oil producers will take them up on the conversion? Certainly not 100% and maybe not 50%. Maybe the number is only 25% or even less but that’s not important as “time” will take over. You must ask yourself, how long can China and India import 3,000 tons while the world only produces 2,500 tons? Where will another 1,000 tons (or maybe much more?) of demand be satisfied if oil producer’s newly acquired yuan are converted to gold? The easy answer is “they cannot” …AT CURRENT PRICES!
Here is the interesting part and where I believe I was mistaken in previous thought. China watched as the U.S. was bled of gold leading up to 1971. They also know we have been bleeding gold ever since as a way to camouflage the credit bubble and gross over issuance of dollars. They understand the game and do not want to be placed in the same quandary if the yuan becomes the reserve currency. Instead, I believe China is leading the world toward a de facto gold standard by diverting what was previously “oil for dollars” into “oil for gold”. I believed China might mark gold higher by making a bid and ask price at much higher numbers, instead, facilitating and using natural demand makes so much more sense.
By making yuan convertible into gold, China in essences is creating a demand they know cannot be met by supply … (again) AT CURRENT PRICES! Why would they do this? It is actually so simple I feel dumb for not seeing this previously. China actually kills an entire flock of birds at one time!
First, they are THE largest owner of gold on the planet so they are in fact marking the value of their treasury up by multiples. The higher future price of gold will also make it very difficult if not impossible for other nations to catch up in gold accumulation. By freeing the gold price, China is assuring their place as a world financial leader for many years if not many centuries as that is their mindset. They know quite well, gold is lasting wealth and also the phrase “he who has the gold makes the rules”!
Second, they will in essence be devaluing the yuan versus gold. This will have many benefits and too broad of a subject to breach here but think back to 1934 when the U.S. devalued the dollar versus gold, it creates “inflation” and makes debt easier to pay and service as well as giving a bump to the real economy.
Next and of great importance, moving the world “naturally” to a gold standard means moving away from the dollar standard and all the unfairness that goes with it. A world moving toward gold (China) is a world moving away from the dollar. Surely the dollar will devalue versus the yuan via lower demand from the oil trade and also the lessening of “power” afforded as issuer of the reserve currency. The U.S has enforced the dollar standard by military use for years. Is this action by China “neutral” enough and free market enough to avoid military conflict? We can only hope and pray the U.S. does not kick the table over in reaction.
Lastly and possibly most important, this scheme avoids the main pitfall Bretton Woods fell into, bleeding out treasury gold. If China refuses to convert yuan into treasury gold but instead buys the bullion on open markets they will never have their “De Gaulle moment”. I know what you are thinking, there just isn’t enough gold? And again I will remark “at the current price”. You see, under this scenario China does not care how high the price of gold moves because they are along for the ride. The only thing they care about is not leaking ANY of the gold they have so carefully and methodically have accumulated over these years! Make no mistake, China will not convert yuan into THEIR gold, they will purchase gold on the open market to make the conversion.
Wrapping this up, China can effectively use Mother Nature and free markets to create a gold standard where they are the wealthiest ones at the table. You can be sure China did not dream this up recently, Chairman Mao purportedly said back in 1971 “this is the beginning of the end for the dollar”. He was of course correct and as usual had a view far further into the future than any Westerners at the time. This course of action is logical and can certainly be considered “financial war”. The only question in my mind is whether or not it leads to an actual hot war?
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