90 Miles From Tyranny : First The IMF And Now The U.N. Call For Replacing The U.S. Dollar As The World Currency Reserve With SDR's

Thursday, July 18, 2013

First The IMF And Now The U.N. Call For Replacing The U.S. Dollar As The World Currency Reserve With SDR's

If the world replaces the dollar as the official currency reserve, make no mistake...the U.S. becomes an
instant third world country due to the massive debt the Obama Administration has racked up.  The UN and the IMF has recommended using SDR's or Special Drawing Rights to replace the dollar, the SDR is an IMF construct that serves as an alternative to the US dollar and bypasses the dollar as the main exchange currency for international currency exchange....

From The Himalayan Times:

The rise in petroleum prices is becoming a destabilizing factor on both the prices and trade fronts along with nullifying effect on the advantages of dollar appreciation. Dollar control and other direct measures may have dampening effect including adverse effect on revenue
In the aftermath of the Great Financial Crisis, the confidence on the dollar as a dominant world reserve currency had eroded substantially. Based on the exhaustive study, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNTAD), which champions for the cause of the poor nations, concluded that the current system of currencies and capital rules binding the world economy was largely responsible for the financial and economic crises. On the same ground, it recommended on the need of replacing dollar with a global currency. Even the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last year issued a statement indicating the need for replacing dollar as the world’s reserve currency with a system of Special Drawing Rights (SDR’s). However, it could not stand with this for long due to strong objection from the US. Parallel to this, a momentum to move away from the dollar with alternative payment arrangements picked up in many countries. The BRICS nations officially decided to establish mutual lines of credit in local currencies. In the backdrop of these developments, an influential American economic daily newspaper on April 20, 2012 had indicated that the hegemony of the US dollar as a global reserve currency may end within the next ten years.

Now, the scenario has changed dramatically. The dollar has gradually appreciated and peaked up markedly in recent months. What are the principle reasons? What is the implication on the global economy? Does it mean that the demand for alternative currency should subside now?

There are five-six main reasons for the steep rise in value of the dollar as against other major currencies. First, after a policy of quantitative easing by the US as a move to devalue dollar and enhance export competitiveness, among others, a competition to devalue own currency against dollar escalated among countries worldwide.

The massive rise in the property prices and thereby the creation of bubble amidst larger capital inflows due to high interest rate in developing countries compared to almost zero interest rate in the US led to fueling of prices and erosion of export competitiveness compelled the countries to retaliate against US’s unilateral move. Second, continuing crisis in peripheral and some other European countries and slowdown in some fast growing economies like China, India together with worsening current account balance also enhanced dollar scarcity. Third, along with the rise in petroleum prices, the demand for dollar increased massively as most of the transaction of trade in petroleum product takes place in US dollars. Fourth, the sharp fall in gold prices also prompted speculators to switch to carry trade in currencies more aggressively. Fifth, the improvement in the US economy compared to many other advanced countries attracted capital inflows to the US from the global investors.

Finally, the recent hint of Federal Reserve that it may start tapering its policy of quantitative easing is generating fear of liquidity problem, contributing to appreciation of the dollar more sharply.

Theoretically, one may argue that, ceteris paribus, with the appreciation of the dollar, the export competitiveness of developing countries vis a vis US should rise leading to gradual reversal in the present trend. With similar expectation across the countries amidst global competition, the internal condition makes a lot of difference. As many developing countries are facing stagflation type problems, the policy space is very limited.

The interest rate rise as an option for attracting capital inflows is not feasible, as this may jeopardize domestic investment and thereby growth further adding more inflationary pressure.

At the same time, many export-oriented industries depend on imported raw materials.

Now, the rise in petroleum prices is becoming a major destabilizing factor on both the prices and trade front along with nullifying effect on the likely advantages of dollar appreciation. Dollar control and other direct measures may have more dampening effect including very adverse effect on revenue and fiscal balance. The debt rise is particularly emerging a big problem again. Despite similar adverse effects more so due to very limited export capacity, countries like Nepal may be partly advantaged by remittances inflows.

At the same time, economic recovery in US is not strong enough. Debt is very high at every level added by huge liability to Federal Reserve due to quantitative easing. If quantitative easing is actually phased out, more aggressive cheap interest rate policy has to be pursued under present financial capitalism to ensure a huge profit amidst structural problems in real economic and labor market front as without this the financial system will collapse. By implication, bubble followed by bust cycle will intensify along with widening of trade deficit.

Thus, in the serious policy space restricted by the dollar to the developing countries as pointed out above, the US policy of beggar thy neighbor will pose more risks and uncertainty to the global economy in the days to come. This means that the need of alternative global currency driven by the principle of more stable exchange rate regime has increased markedly today than the past.


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