Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Dollar Reserve Currency is near its end

I have just read an interesting article on how the dollar reserve currency is near its end.

Currently the US dollar is the worlds reserve currency. A reserve currency, or anchor currency, is a currency that is held in significant quantities by many governments and institutions as part of their foreign exchange reserves. It also tends to be the international pricing currency for products traded on a global market, and commodities such as oil, gold, etc.
This permits the issuing country to purchase the commodities at a marginally lower rate than other nations, which must exchange their currencies with each purchase and pay a transaction cost.

For major currencies, this transaction cost is negligible with respect to the price of the commodity. It also permits the government issuing the currency to borrow money at a better rate, as there will always be a larger market for that currency than others. This is why US can print money to pay for its debts.

Currency composition of official foreign exchange reserves

US dollar
Pound sterling
Japanese yen
Swiss franc

The main reasons why the US dollar is the reserve currency are
  • The dollar is the most convenient currency in which to do business as majority of large financial instruments are traded in dollars.

  • Second, there is the fact that the dollar is the world's safe haven. In crises, investors instinctively flock to it due to its history of stability.

  • The Military Industrial Complex in US is so large so seen as a powerful and safe force.

  • Majority of goods that are wanted are from US Companies i.e TV programs, movies, songs, sport, food and goods e.g Apple.

  • Large asset base in terms of Property, Companies and Commodities e.g Gold.

  • Large number of consumers with money to spend.

  • Finally, the dollar benefits from a dearth of alternatives with large number of international financial transactions.

Why the Dollar Reserve currency is near its end is due to the following reasons
  • Due to computerised exchange rates and access to the information using mobile equipment it makes it easier to be able do comparing prices between currencies.
  • US is losing it perception as a safe haven due to the deficit spending policies and amount quantitive easing its doing to debase the value of the Dollar in real terms.
  • The US stock market and property was seen as safe haven for US assets and tipping point has been reached in first the quality of information being reported by US companies and value of US homes and companies.
  • Real alternatives are gaining momentum in terms of Huan and Euro as more financial transactions are being processed using those currencies.
  • US is not willing to do measures needed to reign in debt and stop the printing of money that is devaluing the dollar in terms of commodities

The key for me for the US dollar being the reserve currency has always been oil being traded in dollars. As oil is key commodity in the current environment. Example in Fiji more then half of all purchases of overseas goods is related to oil and whatever currency oil is traded in would be considered the world currency for Fiji. I assume it is similar in other countries that don't have sustainable energy sources.

It seems that countries have been trying to move away from US dollars to trade for oil especially Iran and China. So what will be the new reserve currency. It has to be some commodity based solution until people have confidence in fiat currencies again.

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - the BRICS group of fastest growing economies - Thursday signed an agreement to use their own currencies instead of the predominant US dollar in issuing credit or grants to each other


Anonymous Mart said...

I am very interested in learning about this reserve currency and how the value of our dollar is diminishing. I found a website that has some good info on it if anyone is interested:

And if anyone else has any info that would be great! Thanks

4:01 am  
Anonymous John Cap said...

This is a cool article:

4:19 am  

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