Friday, February 7, 2014

Market Update graph shows US "Exorbitant Priviledge"

We have posted links to several articles showing how the rest of the world is losing patience with the US over how we are using the reserve status of the US dollar in ways that they believe are unfair.  How it may be causing friction at the IMF and has led to efforts to bypass the US dollar.

Sometimes a picture (or graph) can illustrate a situation better than several thousand words. In this article from Market Update, they show which countries over the last 30 years have been working hard to build a surplus to use to obtain US dollars. They also show which countries have been borrowing against the future to subsidize their present consumption. 

Since the US managed to make the US dollar the worlds reserve currency, we have had the very fun position of just printing up dollars to buy whatever we want without having to do productive work to earn them. A great gig if you can get it. But nothing lasts forever. This graph clearly shows just how distorted things have gotten and why we can expect there will come a time when the rest of the world says "enough is enough". Here are a couple of quotes from the article:

"The US is the only country in the world to simply print dollars, while the rest of the world could only obtain those dollars by producing a trade surplus against the United States. Everybody needed dollars for international trade as a result of the Bretton Woods agreement in 1944. What followed was a stockpiling of trade deficits in the US and a stockpiling of dollarreserves in the rest of the world."

"The graph linked here clearly shows which countries have lived above their means since 1980 and which countries have lived below their means. The Chinese and the Japanese were the most productive with cumulative trade surpluses of about $4.500 and $3.100 trillion respectively. It should be no surprise that these two countries have the largest holdings of US Treasuries.
It should be no surprise as well that China – with their large surplus of dollars – is importing gold hand over fist, just like some European countries did in the sixties… You see the similarities?"

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