Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Demise Of The Dollar

The Independent (published from London) in its front-page article on Tuesday (October 6) headlined The Demise of the Dollar, by its legendary Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk exposing a secret plot by international central banks to topple the US dollar, has rocked the world.

In the report Fisk says secret talks have been taking place between Arab states and China, France, Japan and Russia, to stop using the US currency for oil trading and to move to a basket of currencies.

The proposed new basket supposedly includes the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE).

Finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil have been working on the scheme, says Fisk, adding, the talks “may help to explain the sudden rise in gold prices, but it also augurs an extraordinary transition from dollar markets within nine years”.

He adds: “The Americans, who are aware the meetings have taken place — although they have not discovered the details — are sure to fight this international cabal which will include hitherto loyal allies Japan and the Gulf Arabs.”
Denials have been coming out thick and fast from all the central banks involved, especially Saudi Arabia. But given Fisk's formidable reputation, the report moved markets declined against 14 of its 16 major counterparts, Bloomberg reported.

As the Financial Times (of London) stressed: “The article in The Independent becomes quite serious in that The Independent has not been given to such rumours in the past. This is not The Sun, nor the NY Post. The Independent is a reasonably credible news source and we suspect that the leaks made to the newspaper are to be taken quite seriously. Certainly the markets are taking it as such, and we should also.”

Not surprisingly, the Financial Times is distressed. “This is not new news of course, for such a change from dollar pricing to some other methodology has been discussed, rumoured, tossed about for months, but this time we note that Japan and France are involved in the meetings and that changes the tenor of the rumours entirely. Too, the addition of the Saudis and the Emirates AND Kuwait to the meetings adds further importance and seriousness to the threats.”

FT is not alone. A rather alarmed Dennis Gartman of the Gartman Letter wrote: “IT IS UNANIMOUS: “THEY” HATE THE US DOLLAR and it appears that a fully fledged attack is being made upon the US currency this morning (October 6), with money flowing anywhere and everywhere… but particularly to the non-US dollars, the Canadian, the Aussie and the New Zealand dollars. Fears of problems in the Middle East; fears that the world is turning away from the US dollar as the policies being followed by the left-of-centre Obama Administration; fears of fears.. it makes no difference at this point. The rout is on, and it is not a pretty sight to behold.”

BNY Mellon, meanwhile, did not make much of the central bank denials: “Given the enormity of events these past two years, it is entirely understandable that investors took to the sidelines ahead of meetings of the G20 and G7 whose contingent were seemingly armed with a greater will to effect change. Yet given that these meetings appear to have actually contributed to a reinforcement of the status quo, then there seems little reason to believe that investors will not resume their prior activities. As such, this continues to bode ill for the USD.”

The idea of replacing the dollar for oil trading is not new. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been seeking Arab support for a proposed oil-backed currency for some time now. In fact another report today in TOI says: “UN countries should agree on the creation of a global reserve bank to issue the currency and to monitor the national exchange rates of its members, the Geneva-based UN Conference on Trade and Development said on Tuesday in a report.”

But as Fisk wryly concludes: “Bankers remember, of course, what happened to the last Middle East oil producer to sell its oil in euros rather than dollars. A few months after Saddam Hussein trumpeted his decision, the Americans and British invaded Iraq.”

Roger Alexander

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