Posts Tagged ‘U.s. dollar’

The demise of the US dollar

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

The theme of the weakening dollar is heralded in all news media.

This is nothing new to be honest and this was said years ago, even decades ago, until the dollar strengthened and then weakened ago.

Abandoning the dollar as the main international currency is a topic probably older than most currency traders nowadays. But years after years the dollar remains the main currency for forex trading, real goods trading, commodity trading in particular crude oil, currency reserves, etc. And if you travel and believe me I have traveled, and if you can only carry one currency with you, which one do you think it is going to be? Ok, ok sometimes the euro is more accepted such as in old French colonies in Africa, but this is by far the minority.

So why do people keep on writing thousands of pages and blogs about the demise of the dollar? The short answer I guess is people do not learn. Anyway the slightly longer answer is you need a currency to replace the dollar. It is not going to be the euro, because the euro is still a new currency (ten years old!) and even a large portion of Europeans do not like the euro, and it would be hard to convince the rest of the World to make it the reference currency. Yes one reason they do not like it is that it has induced concealed inflation.

You see, you need one currency to replace the dollar, and that currency has to be strong. The dollar will not be replaced by a smaller currency. Using a basket of currency to replace the dollar will never happen either. Why? Because a basket is not a currency in itself, it is an artificial creation with no relation to a real physical reality. The dollar is the dollar because it is backed by the power of the United States economy and population and army. Three not small backers. Baskets never have and never will be trusted and be able to compete with a true currency. Historically they have never worked. Just take the example of the predecessor of the euro, the ECU. It failed like all baskets, because the weaker elements in the basket make the basket fail.

So the point is only a currency can replace the dollar and it has to be strong. I just explained that the euro is not ready, far from it. What are the other strong currencies. The British Pound and Swiss French are way too small and local currencies to be even considered. The real serious contender is the Japanese Yen, and here again it cannot and will never replace the US dollar. First Japan is less than half the size of the US economy. Japan has no military. The Japanese Yen is not use as a currency for trading, unless one Japanese counterpart is involved in the transaction as buyer or seller.

So here we are, keep on printing pages after pages saying that crude oil will soon be traded in another currency like you have been saying for over ten years, and I am still waiting.

Wait, wait. So that is it? The truth is yes that is it. I hear someone say the Yuan. Please do I need to answer that? It is not even a freely traded currency please.

Summary: the dollar will remain the dominant world currency as long as there is no candidate for its replacement.

Euro at a 2009 High on Dollar

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

Since the end of 2008, the Euro has traded in a range 1.25-1.40, moving back and forth.

In the pas few weeks, the Euro has rallied steadily and crossed 1.40 for the first time in 2009. What is also apparent is the correlation with the rally of the U.S. stock market.

The U.S. market has been rallying smoothly (with lower volatility) as of late, and for now momentum players are ruling the Euro. This is a standard type of trade with a mini trend started from a strong low (as the recent low is stronger than previous lows), plus the possibility to test a 6-month and a 9-month ranges, and to go all the way to the next magnet price of 1.50.

With respect to fundamental news, one reason for the rally is the recent decision by Standard & Poor’s to take a negative outlook on the triple-A rating of the U.K. This led to the belief that the triple-A rating of the U.S.A. could or should also be put on the same watch list.

Between you and me, this is ludicrous, as there is no better credit in the World than the U.S. Government. This is why it is called risk-free rate in Economics and Finance classes. Downgrading such rating is totally meaningless, as it just means all other credits should be shifted down as well. So this sounds more like an excuse to justify the rally than anything else, and confirms the momentum play theory.

In the other main currency pair, the Yen has also being very strong lately, confirming the scenario of overall medium-term U.S. dollar weakness, even though it corrected by late Friday. The dollar has also been weak versus the British Pound and the Swiss franc.

How is this dollar weakness playing in the bigger picture? For many months, part of the financial and forex business community has been concerned with the massive influx of liquidity created by World Central Banks, especially the Federal Reserve.

Printing money in times of crisis is not a new medicine, but the Obama’s administration is using it like there is no tomorrow. Creating money has always led to inflation since the first King of Antiquity started it. Only the future will tell us if this time is a different time. Or if this time there are strong enough counter forces such as a globalization induced deflationary wave to eradicate this mounting inflation.

For now, most economic indicators show inflation insouciance, such as the spread between the yield on the 10-year inflation-protected Treasury and the regular 10-year Treasury, which suggests inflation at 1.78%. But a number of smart money and well informed investors have been piling into Gold this year, betting that inflation will pop its ugly head at some point.