Saturday, October 16, 2010

The End of The Gold Standard - Nixon Slams the Window Shut on the World

Hugo Salinas Price discusses the gold standard and the destruction going off the gold standard has brought to the on

Once you have read the article above go on a trip back in history to 1971. In the video below Tricky Dicky takes the USA, and by default the rest of the World, off The Gold standard, in the process making all the World's currencies paper promises backed by nothing.

Some background:

The President of France Charles De Gaulle fearing a future default by the USA on its gold backed dollars instructed the Banque de France to increase the rate at which new US dollars holdings were converted into gold bullion. De Gaulle sent the French navy across the Atlantic to hand over US dollars and bring back gold bullion in exchange. In 1965 alone, the French navy ferried back over $150 million of gold bullion thereby increasing the proportion of French national reserves held in gold from 71.4% to 91.9%.

Due to inflationary pressures on the US$ as a result of printing to many dollars and foreign borrowings to fund the Indo-China (Vietnam) war on August 15, 1971, President Nixon imposed a 90-day wage and price freeze, a 10 percent import surcharge, and, most importantly, “closed the gold window”, ending convertibility between US dollars and gold.

World needs to stay vigilant about active depreciation of the dollar

By Li Xiangyang, translated by People's Daily Online

A currency war is spreading as the dollar's value against major world currencies has continued to decline in recent days. Some developed countries have begun to intervene in their exchange rates. The recovery of the global economy will suffer a negative impact if this trend is not checked.

It is the dollar that triggered the currency war. Seemingly a market move, the depreciation of the dollar is actually active.

The U.S. Federal Reserve's statement that it might restart quantitative easing — a policy central banks use to increase money supply — triggered the depreciation of the dollar. The dollar's value against the basket of currencies has decreased by 7 percent since the U.S. Federal Reserve began talk of possible quantitative easing.

The move nominally aims to further drive down the interest rate in America to prevent the occurrence of a double dip. But it will affect the value of the dollar too, prompting the dollar's devaluation. In light of the history low short-term interest rates in the United States, a further decrease in the interest rate will drive the flow of short-term capital toward markets of emerging economies, quickening the appreciation of their currencies.
Second, the U.S. government's strategy to double its exports within five years needs the considerable depression of the dollar. For America, boosting exports is a must in the post crisis era, because it cannot pin its hope for economic growth on the prosperity of its real estate market and consumption based on borrowing money.

Obviously boosting exports relying on the competitiveness of U.S. companies is not realistic in the short term. Nor is it possible to be realized by the strong demand of its trade partners. None of America's trade partners — except those emerging economies — are able to achieve growth independently. Judging from the course of history after World War II, considerable depreciation of the dollar is the sole possible option that enables America to realize the goal. In this sense, driving down the value of the dollar has become an important choice in policy for the United States to recover the sluggish economy..

The last but the most important point is that in the long run the considerable depreciation of the dollar will help America to transfer its debts to others. If we say the international financial crisis nationalized the private debts, then in the post-crisis era, the United State sees an urgent need to internationalize its debts.

A great amount of bad debts of American financial institutions have been converted to government debt through government aid measures. In 2009, America's fiscal deficit stood at 1.42 trillion dollars, 3.1 times the 2008 level. The deficit ratio surged from 3.2 percent in 2008 to 10 percent to a new high since World War II. The debt of the federal government increased to 6.7 trillion dollars, representing 47.2 percent of its GDP. In 2010, the fiscal deficit is expected to be around 1.32 trillion dollars. How America retains economic growth while reducing the deficit is a big problem for the country.

Historic experiences show debt-to-GDP ratio is not directly linked with economic growth and inflation (even devaluation) in most countries. But the United States is an exception because the dollar serves as the world currency. For instance, the ratio decreased from 121.2 percent in 1946 to 31.7 percent in 1974. Of that number, inflation accounted 52.6 percentage points, economic growth contributed nearly 56 percentage points and federal surplus contributed negative 21.51 percentage points. Even if the United States denies its motives to transfer their debts, it will unavoidably happen in reality.

Given a sluggish economy and huge amount of debts, driving the value of the dollar down is in line with America’s interests, both in short term and in long term. The international community ought to stay vigilant about the strong motive for active devaluation under the guise of a market-based move.

The Ultimate Gold Bug - Mr. T

The world's most famous TV Gold Bug appears on Bloomberg TV to talk about Gold. Although he is there representing a gold buy back shop, notice that he thinks gold might go higher and that he hasn't cashed in any of his gold. If nothing else Mr T. demonstrates that gold bugs come from all walks of life and faiths.

Banks' $4 trillion debts are 'Achilles’ heel of the economic recovery', warns IMF

From the UK Telegraph:

More taxpayer support is needed to ensure global financial stability despite the billions already pledged, the International Monetary Fund has warned, as banks remain the “achilles heel” of the economic recovery.

Lenders across Europe and the US are facing a $4 trillion refinancing hurdle in the coming 24 months and many still need to recapitalise, the Washington-based organisation said in its Global Financial Stability Report. Governments will have to inject fresh equity into banks – particularly in Spain, Germany and the US – as well as prop up their funding structures by extending emergency support.

“Progress toward global financial stability has experienced a setback since April ... [due to] the recent turmoil in sovereign debt markets,” the IMF said. “The global financial system is still in a period of significant uncertainty and remains the Achilles’ heel of the economic recovery.”

Although banks have recognised all but $550bn of the $2.2 trillion of bad debts the IMF estimates needed to be written off between 2007 and 2010, they are still facing a looming funding shock that will need state support. “Nearly $4 trillion of bank debt will need to be rolled over in the next 24 months,” the report says.

“Planned exit strategies from unconventional monetary and financial support may need to be delayed until the situation is more robust, especially in Europe... With the situation still fragile, some of the public support that has been given to banks in recent years will have to be continued.”

Although the IMF does not mention individual countries, it is clear it has concerns about the UK. According to the Bank of England, British banks need to refinance £750bn-£800bn of funding by the end of 2012, £285bn of which is emergency support that expires in the same period.

The IMF adds: “Without further bolstering of balance sheets, banking systems remain susceptible to funding shocks that could intensify deleveraging pressures and place a further drag on public finances and the recovery.” on