IMF calls for Alternative Reserve Currency, Again

CNNMoney
February 11, 2011

The International Monetary Fund issued a report Thursday on a possible replacement for the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

The IMF said Special Drawing Rights, or SDRs, could help stabilize the global financial system.

SDRs represent potential claims on the currencies of IMF members. They were created by the IMF in 1969 and can be converted into whatever currency a borrower requires at exchange rates based on a weighted basket of international currencies. The IMF typically lends countries funds denominated in SDRs

While they are not a tangible currency, some economists argue that SDRs could be used as a less volatile alternative to the U.S. dollar.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the IMF, acknowledged there are some “technical hurdles” involved with SDRs, but he believes they could help correct global imbalances and shore up the global financial system.

“Over time, there may also be a role for the SDR to contribute to a more stable international monetary system,” he said.

The goal is to have a reserve asset for central banks that better reflects the global economy since the dollar is vulnerable to swings in the domestic economy and changes in U.S. policy.

In addition to serving as a reserve currency, the IMF also proposed creating SDR-denominated bonds, which could reduce central banks’ dependence on U.S. Treasuries. The Fund also suggested that certain assets, such as oil and gold, which are traded in U.S. dollars, could be priced using SDRs.

Oil prices usually go up when the dollar depreciates. Supporters say using SDRs to price oil on the global market could help prevent spikes in energy prices that often occur when the dollar weakens significantly.

Fred Bergsten, director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said at a conference in Washington that IMF member nations should agree to create $2 trillion worth of SDRs over the next few years.

SDRs, he said, “will further diversify the system.”

Dollar firms after starting 2011 weak

The dollar has been drifting lower so far this year as the global economy improves and investors regain their appetite for more risky assets such as stocks and commodities.

After rising above 81 in early January, the dollar index, which measures the U.S. currency against a basket of other international currencies, eased below 77 earlier this week.

However, the dollar was higher Thursday against the euro, pound and yen as disappointing corporate results weighed on stock prices following several days of gains on Wall Street. The rally in the commodities market also cooled, with the price of oil and metals backing off recent highs.

In addition, renewed concerns about the debt problems facing troubled European economies put pressure on the euro and supported the dollar. The yield on Portugal’s benchmark bond rose to a record high Wednesday, and borrowing costs for Ireland, Spain and Greece remain elevated.

“The market is shedding risk, with equities and commodities weakening and the U.S. dollar broadly stronger” said Camilla Sutton, currency strategist at Scotia Capital.

Traders were also digesting comments from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, who told Congress Wednesday that despite a strengthening economic recovery, the unemployment rate remains high while inflation is “still quite low.”

Those remarks reaffirmed the view that “the Fed would be very slow to tighten policy given its dual mandate of price stability and employment,” analysts at Sucden Financial wrote in a research report.

Bernanke also urged lawmakers to come up with a “credible plan” to bring down “unsustainable” federal budget deficits.

“We expect that the outlook for the U.S. fiscal position will weigh heavily on the U.S. dollar in the quarters ahead,” said Sutton. In the near-term, however, she said “a strengthening growth profile” could help provide “a temporary period of dollar strength.”

Quantitative Easing Explained

QE and QE2 have absolutely nothing to do with “saving” the economy. However, QE3 has already been announced.

By Eric Woodell

The massive “quantitative easing” by the Federal Reserve, sounds somewhat noble, even gentle, in its approach to helping restore the American economy.  Such terms almost sound like you suddenly can refinance your house for an absurdly low rate, it’s that easy.

But the reality is quite different.

The Federal Reserve has the ability to create money.  In the old days, that meant using printing-presses, to put ink on paper, which are then called “dollars.”  Nowadays, however, they do it with literally the click of a computer keyboard, and the money is created instantly!  Pretty cool, don’t you think?

But what does this really mean?

Why would the Federal Reserve do this, and devalue the dollar?  After all, if there are only a certain number of goods available, and everyone suddenly has twice as much money, won’t the prices of everything double, and the net result will be that nothing has effectively changed?  Won’t the only real change be that each unit of currency being worth exactly half of what it was?

The answer to both questions, of course, is “yes.”  But what matters, is who gets the money first.  In the academic study of economics, this could be termed the “first-mover” advantage.

Let’s use an analogy:  Let’s assume the economy had $3 trillion floating around in it.  Now, suppose the Fed gave you $1 trillion dollars, in your own personal checking account.  With that much money, what would you do?  Pay off all your debts, buy a nice car and new house, and so on…  In other words, you could spend that money, at the value it currently is at.  Of course, as you bought more stuff, more money will make it into the general economy, increasing the money circulating around, and eventually the dollar will have a lower value.  In this case, after you’ve spent all the money acquiring everything worth buying, there would now be $4 trillion in the economy, instead of $3 trillion.  If you spent all of that money in one year, the inflation rate would be 4/3, or 33%.  The dollar would be worth only ¾ of what it had, just the previous year.

The effect to everyone else in the economy, is that their money is worth less than the previous year, and if you had your money tied up in a savings account paying 3% interest, it would mean you actually lost 30% in one year, because the dollars you have in your bank purchase that much less.  This has the net effect of being a government tax, while at the same time, allowing the cronies and suck-ups of the Fed to gain power, by taking it from you.

This is why the Fed constantly wants inflation; it gives them power over you, invisibly taxes you, and allows them to maintain power over you.

When they talk about more “quantitative easing,” like QE2 or even QE3, it means that the Fed is robbing you of your ability to purchase things like food, fuel or shelter.  Instead, the money is sent to the favorite banks of the Fed (remember, the Federal Reserve is a private corporation, made up of…  banks).  Which really means, they give it to themselves.

As you can now see, QE and QE2 have absolutely nothing to do with “saving” the economy.  Indeed, the opposite is the truth.  The actions by the Fed make the continued degradation of economic situation of the USA a certainty.

When more Americans finally wake up, and understand the rampant theft that’s being committed by the Federal Reserve and their cronies, there will be Hell to pay.

China may be biggest economy within two years

By Jeremy Warner

Here’s a finding that will have any red-blooded American spluttering into his corn flakes. According to the Conference Board, a highly respected economic research association, China will overtake the US as the world’s biggest economy by 2012, or within two years.

OK, so in dollar terms, that’s obviously not going to be the case. It will be a lot longer than two years before China overtakes the US on that measure. But in terms of purchasing power parity, according to the Conference Board’s latest world economic outlook, China is already nearly there, and by 2020 will have reached a size of output which is nearly half as big again as the US.

Here’s the Wikipedia link explaining what PPP is
, but broadly speaking the idea is to measure output according to the volume, not the price of goods and services produced. The assumption made is that identical goods will have the same price in different markets. In practice, this is obviously not the case. A taxi ride in Beijing, for instance, will cost you approximately a tenth of what it costs in London. But it is essentially the same service.

In any case, in PPP terms, the Conference Board’s projections show China as 24.1 per cent of world output by 2020, and the US at just 14.8 per cent.

We all knew that the weight of economic growth had skewed dramatically since the crisis from advanced to emerging market economies, but many in the West don’t yet seem fully to appreciate the speed with which economic and geo-political power is shifting. This is a truly seismic change. How these once irrelevant economies choose to use their new found power is the overarching question of our times.

US lawmakers call for end to Afghan war

PressTV

The Democratic and Republican lawmakers have called on President Barack Obama to provide Congress with a clear plan to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan.

The lawmakers from both sides of the political spectrum called Thursday for an end to the Afghan war.

A group of US lawmakers said the war was a drain on US “blood and treasure”.

“Every dollar spent and every life wasted in Vietnam was just that: A waste,” said Democratic Representative Jerrold Nadler.

The revolt against Obama comes as Washington is expected to pump another 37 billion dollars into the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief, Leon Panetta, recently admitted that the Afghan war has proven to be much harder and longer than anticipated. He also alluded to serious problems in the US-led war, acknowledging that the Taliban are gaining an upper hand in the battle.

This is while Obama has promised to start withdrawing US forces from Afghanistan in July 2011.

The rising foreign casualties have sparked anger among the public in the countries allied with the US in Afghanistan.

In addition to the foreign troops’ casualties, thousands of civilians have also lost their lives either in US-led raids or in the Taliban-led militancy across the violence-wracked country. Rising number of civilian causalities is undermining support for the presence of US-led forces in the country.

The US-led invasion of Afghanistan was launched with the official objective of curbing militancy and bringing peace and stability to the country. Nine years on, however, US and Afghan officials admit the country remains unstable as civilians continue to pay the heaviest price.

Russian President: New World Order with new Global Currency

By Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
June 19, 2010

As many other puppet presidents have done it before, Russia’s Dmitri Medvedev is taking his opportunity to call for a new world

Russian President, Dmitri Medvedev

order and to push the Russian currency up, as the new reserve paper.  “What had seemed untouchable has collapsed. The bubbles that created the illusion of flourishing economies have burst,” said the Russian president in St Petersburg.  As he opened Russia’s annual economic forum, Medvedev said the times when western corporations dominated the economy had ended and the new interest in Russia was a sign that the world was changing.

“For Russia this situation is a challenge and an opportunity.  And we should use it to build a modern, flourishing and strong Russia … which will be a co-founder of the new world economic order.” he added.  Talking in front of many businessmen from around the world, the Russia leader followed the steps of other governments and presidents as well as of non-governmental institutions.  In the past, George H.W. Bush, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Barack Obama, among others, have called for the formation of a new world order.  In fact, all those leaders have cited the creation of a centralized global entity as the only way to cure the many illnesses the world suffers from today.

Together with governments, there are supranational institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and their respective leaders, who have echoed the same calls for the creation of a new global order.  This order would have the power, will amass the resources of the planet and will decide how to use them.  The plan also includes the creation of a single monetary policy to which all countries will have to submit to.  The adherence to such policy will enable the countries to receive loans and aid packages that will make them more dependent on the foreign centralized organization, and less dependent on their own Constitutions and laws.  In fact, in the world seen through the eyes of people like Medvedev and the other power men, there is no need for nationality, sovereignty or identity.

Russia has already taken significant steps to aid the lifeline of the new world order -which has existed for many years now-.  The country will introduce a policy of zero taxation on capital gains which will indeed allow the free flow of monies in and out of, much like it happens in corrupt countries where this policy aides and enables money laundering through the banking system.  This would transform Russia into the new United States when it comes to moving large amounts of money coming from all places -drug trade, arms trade, slave trade- to circulate and make its way across the world.  Of course Medvedev did not present it like that.  Instead, he said his policy would allow companies working on long-term investments.  Russia, he said, “was improving the legal system to offer better protection for businesses against the long arm of bureaucracy.”  In other words, crime, of the kind recently experienced through Wall Street banks around the world will have a safe heaven in Russia.  What Mr. Medvedev’s words mean is that all the policies that allowed the bankers to suck countries dry of their resources will also exist in the world order he dreams about, where Russia is the new leader and he’s the new Al Capone.  Limits to bureaucracy means zero regulation or a perfect environment for the corporations to run their shady Ponzi schemes.

The Russian president also talked about something that would make any corporate businessman smile, even in the rainiest day.  Russia has completed the process of simplifying migration procedures, so that workers can go in the country; or better, Russia just like China will allow corporations to pay some of the lowest wages to its citizens in exchange for long working days with no benefits and no rights.  Again, it’s clear he did not present it this way.  He said Russia had changed to attract “highly-qualified specialists” from the financial and technology sectors.  “The state should not tear down the apples from the tree of economics,” he said.

Medvedev complemented his speech on a new world order by forcefully attacking the dollar and claiming that it was time for a new reserve currency.  “Only three, five years ago it seemed like a fantasy” to create a new reserve currency. Now we are seriously discussing it.”  He does not seem to be alone in that ride.  It seems China is up to the challenge as well.  In the meantime, Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer added his voice to the Russian’s, but from a very different point of view, one that is rarely heard.  He said: “New reserve currencies don’t emerge by fiat. They emerge as countries change.”  A fiat currency is paper or electronic  money that is not backed up by a nation’s industry or production, but by an inflated system of blind trust on what a piece of paper says it is worth.

Apparently, both Russia and China think it is time for the East to drive the world and its markets.  “We really live at a unique time, and we should use it to build a modern, prosperous and strong Russia, a Russia that will be a co-founder of the new world economic order,” he said.  The problem with Medvedev’s vision is that his plan will not work, at least not for as long as he wants.  Although he intends to build something new, better and different, he plans on using the same old policies that brought us to the disaster he so clearly criticizes.  He wants prosperity, a modern economy and a strong Russia, but he wants zero regulation, a centralized dictatorial government and no sovereignty.  Maybe he forgets that Capitalism, the real Capitalism, was born from free independent nations that based their development on the use of their resources to produce quality goods that benefited the world.  Instead, he wants a global economy filled with cheap, slave-made products that need to be changed every few months.  He wants the best workers, but will follow the same old low-paying policies that maintains Asia’s and Latin America’s people in a continuous feudal model of development.

“If the world depended completely on the dollar, the situation would have been more difficult,” Medvedev reminded the audience.  So why does he want a single global currency, then?