Sunday, October 19, 2003

Asia, Its Reserves and the Coming Dollar Crisis

I feel this book by Richard Duncan so important, I am posting an article about it again. Anyone seriously wanting or needing accurate thoroughly researched information must read this article and associated book.

Asia, its reserves and the coming dollar crisis

By Richard Duncan
Author of the new book, The Dollar Crisis, Richard Duncan explains why the dollar is the source of global deflation.

FinanceAsia: Posterity may remember it as a seminal book in the field of 21st century economics. Indeed, rarely has a book offered such a grim yet well argued view of the current economic situation facing the world and Asia. The author - a former Salomon banker, and World Bank staffer - is Richard Duncan and the book is called the Dollar Crisis. In this essay, the American explains why the US dollar is at the root of global deflation, and recent bubbles, and what it will mean for Asia.

During the 30 years since the breakdown of the Bretton Woods International Monetary System, the global economy has been flooded with dollar liquidity. International reserves are one of the best measures of that liquidity. During the quasi-gold standard Bretton Woods era, international reserves expanded only slowly. For example, total international reserves increased by only 55% during the 20 years between 1949 and 1969, the year Bretton Woods began to come under strain. Since 1969, total international reserves have surged by more than 2000%. This explosion of reserve assets has been one of the most significant economic events of the last 50 years.

Today, Asian central banks hold approximately $1.5 trillion in US dollar-denominated reserve assets. Most of the world's international reserves come into existence as a result of the United States current account deficit. That deficit is now $1 million a minute. Last year, it amounted to $503 billion or roughly 2% of global GDP. The combined international reserves of the countries with a current account surplus increase by more or less the same amount as the US current account deficit each year. So central bankers must worry not only about their existing stockpile of dollar reserves, but also about the flow of new US dollar reserves they will continue to accumulate each year so long as their countries continue to achieve a surplus on their overall balance of payments.

With the depreciation of the dollar rapidly gaining momentum, Asian central bankers are scrambling to find alternative, non-dollar denominated investment vehicles in which to hold their countries' reserves. Consequently, this is a topic that is attracting considerable attention in the press.

There is a related issue of much greater importance being entirely overlooked, however. The surge in international reserves has created unprecedented macroeconomic imbalances that are destabilizing the global economy. The global economic disequilibrium caused by these imbalances is the subject of this article. It is also the subject my recently published book, THE DOLLAR CRISIS: Causes, Consequences, Cures (John Wiley & Sons, 2003).

Since the breakdown of Bretton Woods, dollars have replaced gold as the international reserve currency. The international monetary system now functions on a Dollar Standard rather than a Gold Standard. ...{Article Continued}

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