Connect with us

Currencies

Dollar: towards the end of the “exorbitant privilege” ?

The United States’ current fiscal and monetary policies are unsustainable. The US government’s net debt as a share of GDP has doubled in the past five years, and the ratio is projected to be higher a decade from now, even if the economy has fully recovered and interest rates are in a normal range.

Avatar

Published

on

Dollar big

The United States’ current fiscal and monetary policies are unsustainable. The US government’s net debt as a share of GDP has doubled in the past five years, and the ratio is projected to be higher a decade from now, even if the economy has fully recovered and interest rates are in a normal range.

Loading...

An aging US population will cause social benefits to rise rapidly, pushing the debt to more than 100% of GDP and accelerating its rate of increase. Although the Federal Reserve and foreign creditors like China are now financing the increase, their willingness to do so is not unlimited.

Likewise, the Fed’s policy of large-scale asset purchases has increased commercial banks’ excess reserves to unprecedented levels (approaching $2 trillion), and has driven the real interest rate on ten-year Treasury bonds to an unprecedented negative level. As the Fed acknowledges, this will have to stop and be reversed.

yuan_dollar_featured

How safe is the dollar ?

 

While the future evolution of these imbalances remains unclear, the result could eventually be a sharp rise in long-term interest rates and a substantial fall in the dollar’s value, driven mainly by foreign investors’ reluctance to continue expanding their holdings of US debt. American investors, fearing an unwinding of the fiscal and monetary positions, might contribute to these changes by seeking to shift their portfolios to assets of other countries.

While I share these concerns, others frequently rely on two key arguments to dismiss the fear of a run on the dollar: the dollar is a reserve currency, and it carries fewer risks than other currencies. Neither argument is persuasive.

Consider first the claim that the dollar’s status as a reserve currency protects it, because governments around the world need to hold dollars as foreign exchange reserves. The problem is that foreign holdings of dollar securities are no longer primarily “foreign exchange reserves” in the traditional sense.

In earlier decades, countries held dollars because they needed to have a highly liquid and widely accepted currency to bridge the financing gap if their imports exceeded their exports. The obvious candidate for this reserve fund was US Treasury bills.

But, since the late 1990’s, countries like South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore have accumulated very large volumes of foreign reserves, reflecting both export-driven growth strategies and a desire to avoid a repeat of the speculative currency attacks that triggered the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis. With each of these countries holding more than $200 billion in foreign-exchange holdings – and China holding more than $3 trillion – these are no longer funds intended to bridge trade-balance shortfalls. They are major national assets that must be invested with attention to yield and risk.

So, although dollar bonds and, increasingly, dollar equities are a large part of these countries’ sovereign wealth accounts, most of the dollar securities that they hold are not needed to finance trade imbalances. Even if these countries want to continue to hold a minimum core of their portfolios in a form that can be used in the traditional foreign-exchange role, most of their portfolios will respond to their perception of different currencies’ risks.

In short, the US no longer has what Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, as France’s finance minister in the 1960’s, accurately called the “exorbitant privilege” that stemmed from having a reserve currency as its legal tender.

Martin Feldstein, Professor of Economics at Harvard University, addresses the dollar’s real trade-weighted value

Source: How safe is the dollar? | Forum:Blog | The World Economic Forum

Comments

Currencies

3 Reasons to Be Optimistic About the Baht Right Now

Probably one of the most important factors for the rise of the Baht is the continued weakness of the US dollar, which most experts agree is going to continue declining throughout the rest of the year.

Pr News

Published

on

The Thai Baht, our beleaguered currency, has had something of a difficult few years. Successful debt and inflation crises have eroded the value of the Baht numerous times, not least the events of 2015-16, which saw the Baht plunge to some of the lowest levels against the Dollar in history.

Loading...
(more…)

Continue Reading

Banking

BoT warns against illegal use of Thai Baht-denominated Stablecoins

It has come to the Bank of Thailand’s attention that a new stablecoin, THT, has been created abroad on the Terra Platform.

Avatar

Published

on

  ​Mr. Pruettipong Srimachand, Assistant Governor of the Legal Group, Bank of Thailand (BOT), has revealed that recent developments have seen the private sector attempting to create cryptocurrencies utilizing underlying assets or fiat currencies as an anchor to minimize price volatility. Such cryptocurrencies are known as stablecoins.

Loading...
(more…)

Continue Reading

Banking

Fitch confirms Thailand’s rating at ‘BBB+’ with a Stable Outlook

Thailand’s ratings are supported by strong public and external finances, which have provided buffers to respond to the economic shock and market volatility associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

Bahar Karaman

Published

on

Fitch Ratings – Hong Kong – 29 Oct 2020: Fitch Ratings has affirmed Thailand’s Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at ‘BBB+’ with a Stable Outlook.

Loading...
(more…)

Continue Reading

Most Viewed

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 14,072 other subscribers

Latest

Trending