Author Topic: Is this the death of the dollar?  (Read 422 times)

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Offline BlueStateSaint

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Is this the death of the dollar?
« on: June 21, 2009, 05:03:01 AM »
Found this courtesy of Drudge.

Quote
Is this the death of the dollar?

After two smugglers were stopped last week with what at first appeared to be $134bn in US state bonds, the tension and paranoia surrounding the fate of the dollar hit a new high.


By Edmund Conway
Published: 7:32PM BST 20 Jun 2009

Border guards in Chiasso see plenty of smugglers and plenty of false-bottomed suitcases, but no one in the town, which straddles the Italian-Swiss frontier, had ever seen anything like this. Trussed up in front of the police in the train station were two Japanese men, and beside them a suitcase with a booty unlike any other. Concealed at the bottom of the bag were some rather incredible sheets of paper. The documents were apparently dollar-denominated US government bonds with a face value of a staggering $134bn (£81bn).

How on earth did these two men, who at first refused to identify themselves, come to be there, trying to ride the train into Switzerland carrying bonds worth more than the gross domestic product of Singapore? If the bonds were genuine, the pair would have been America's fourth-biggest creditor, ahead of the UK and just behind Russia. No sooner had the story leaked out from the Italian lakes region last week than it sparked a panoply of conspiracy tales. But one resounded more than any other: that the men were agents of the Japanese finance ministry, in the country for the G8 meeting, making a surreptitious journey into Switzerland to sell off one small chunk of the massive mountain of US bonds stacked up in the Japanese Treasury vaults.

In the event, late last week American officials confirmed that the notes were forgeries. The men, it appeared, were nothing more than ambitious scamsters. But many remain unconvinced. And whether fake or otherwise, the story underlines one important point about the world economy at the moment: that the tension and paranoia surrounding the fate of the US dollar has hit a new high. It went to the heart of the big question: will the central bankers in Japan, China and elsewhere continue to support the greenback even in the wake of the worst financial crisis in modern history, or will they abandon it as America's economic hegemony dissipates?

Dollar obituaries are nothing new. The currency has been presumed dead more times than Shane Macgowan. But like the lead singer of The Pogues, the greenback has somehow withstood repeated knocks and scrapes over the years and lived on, battered, bruised and a couple of teeth the lighter, to fight another day. In the 1970s and 1980s there were plenty predicting its demise, although at that point the main challenger was the Japanese yen. And in the years preceding this crisis, economists and investors including Peter Schiff and George Soros were lining up to declare the dollar's demise as the world's reserve currency. In the late 1990s, the creation of the euro gave dollar sceptics another stick to beat the currency with, and no doubt the European currency has claimed some of the prominence in its first decade.

Now, following the collapse of the global financial system, those warnings have become louder still, and ever more difficult to dismiss – because this time around there are threatening noises coming from those who actually have the power to do something about it. First came a paper from Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of the People's Bank of China (PBoC), a couple of months ago, positing the idea of introducing the special drawing right (SDR) – a kind of internal currency at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – as an international reserve currency. These calls were then repeated, with more force, by the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, who last week declared that the world needed new reserve currencies in addition to the dollar.

You'll have to go to the link, but the last paragraph of the article is rather interesting . . .and it wouldn't surprise me.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/5586543/Is-this-the-death-of-the-dollar.html
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