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Russia Is Winning the Financial War

Posted by M. C. on June 24, 2022

By Alasdair Macleod


The ending of the petrodollar era

Sanctions have backfired on those described by Vladimir Putin as the unfriendly nations. It is setting in train a series of events likely to undermine the whole Western financial system, as prices rise driving interest rates higher, and economic activity shrinks. These developments alone are leading to contracting bank credit, crashing stock markets, and sharply higher bond yields.

Last week, I wrote about the impact on the banking system and the likely consequences. Russia, China, and associated nations who depend upon them for trade and economic development are now moving to protect themselves from what is emerging as a full scale systemic and fiat currency crisis for the dollar and the entire Western financial system. 

These developments are hastening the end of the petrodollar era and the dollar’s role as a reserve currency.  A central Asian replacement is planned to be a new super-currency used for cross-border payments, based on an index of a basket of commodities and currencies of the participating nations. Including currencies is a mistake, but otherwise the proposition has merit. 

This article explains why and how a properly constructed scheme would work. I demonstrate why it could act as a de facto gold standard.

Its designers intend this new trade currency to appeal to other important nations, such as Saudi Arabia, into using a commodity-linked currency for settling their trade payments, replacing the dying petrodollar. But its success could prove to be fatal for the fiat dollar and other Western currencies. With the demise of the dollar, the new super-currency can be expected to lead eventually to some national currencies adopting gold standards.

The ending of the petrodollar era

Put Ukraine to one side, it’s not the major issue. We should realise what really matters to us all is the real war, which is Russia’s attempts to banish American hegemony in Europe. While in the West we have an image of President Putin as an evil despot determined to take Ukraine back under Russian control, in a speech at St Petersburg’s International Economic Forum this week, Putin’s diagnosis of the West’s problems was more to the point than anything you will hear from our own Dear Leaders: Joe, Boris, Emmanuel, Olaf, et al. It is worth citing relevant extracts from the official English translation of Putin’s speech to highlight his economic understanding of the pickle we in the West have got ourselves into:

“Surging inflation in product and commodity markets had become a fact of life long before the events of this year. The world has been driven into this situation, little by little, by many years of irresponsible macroeconomic policies pursued by the G7 countries, including uncontrolled emission and accumulation of unsecured debt. These processes intensified with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, when supply and demand for goods and services drastically fell on a global scale…

“Because they could not or would not devise any other recipes, the governments of the leading Western economies simply accelerated their money-printing machines. Such a simple way to make up for unprecedented budget deficits…

“I have already cited this figure: over the past two years, the money supply in the United States has grown by more than 38 percent. Previously, a similar rise took decades, but now it grew by 38 percent or 5.9 trillion dollars in two years. By comparison, only a few countries have a bigger gross domestic product. The EU’s money supply has also increased dramatically over this period. It grew by about 20 percent, or 2.5 trillion euros.

“Lately, I have been hearing more and more about the so-called – please excuse me, I really would not like to do this here, even mention my own name in this regard, but I cannot help it – we all hear about the so-called ‘Putin inflation’ in the West. When I see this, I wonder who they expect would buy this nonsense – people who cannot read or write, maybe. Anyone literate enough to read would understand what is actually happening.

“The rising prices, accelerating inflation, shortages of food and fuel, petrol, and problems in the energy sector are the result of system-wide errors the current US administration and European bureaucracy have made in their economic policies. That is where the reasons are, and only there.”[i]

Putin shows that he has at least a superficial understanding of where the West has erred with its neo-Keynesian monetary and economic policies. While some of the economic and monetary elements in his address can be criticised, Putin’s grasp of these subjects puts him head and shoulders above his opposite numbers in the G7.

It is from this disadvantage that the US is trying to impose dollar hegemony on Russian interests in the financial and currency war. We must consider the geopolitics of the matter. 

See the rest here

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