Malaysia Slaps "Dollar As Reserve Currency" Thesis, As It Buys Renminbi-Denominated Bonds
Overnight gold hit a fresh all time record as increasingly more people make their own decision to go back to the gold standard, away from endless currency dilution, and away from the dollar as reserve currency. Curiously, the latest salvo in the case of the latter came from Malaysia which, courtesy of the FT, we learn has "bought renminbi-denominated bonds for its reserves, marking a
significant advance for Beijing’s attempts to internationalise the use
of its currency, pitched by Chinese policymakers as a long-term rival to
the US dollar." While relatively under the radar, this development will have huge implications for global capital flows: as Credit Agricole's Dariusz Kowalczyk, says, "the central bank’s move is also expected to herald further diversification into Chinese government securities by other Asian countries. This brings the renminbi’s credibility to a whole new level. It will have a domino effect, starting among China’s trading partners in Asia. Then it will gradually spread globally." Of course, it also shows that what China does to Japan by buying up its bonds, the world can do to China. However, in exchanging the renminbi for the dollar as global reserve currency of choice, Beijing will be more than happy to allow this, even as the US, its infinite budget deficit, and its outright lack of a budget, grows increasingly isolated.
More from the FT:
The Malaysian central bank refused to comment on the move, saying that it never discusses the composition of its reserves, which amounted to M$311bn (US$100bn) at the end of August, which was then equivalent to US$95bn.
However, people with knowledge of the transaction said it had taken place recently and was thought to have been accompanied or followed by purchases by other Asian central banks, although none of these has yet been identified.
In August, China opened its domestic interbank bond market to foreign central banks that have access to renminbi through a series of bilateral currency swaps totalling Rmb800bn ($120bn).
The agreements, signed since 2008, are with Argentina, Belarus, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea, although there are no details about how many of these swap lines have actually been activated. Commercial banks such as HSBC and Citigroup that have accumulated renminbi through cross-border trade settlement were also told last month they would be able to invest in China’s interbank bond market, although none has yet been given formal approval.
The decision to allow some central banks to invest in the domestic bond market is part of a push by Beijing to increase the international use of the Chinese currency. An expanded role for the renminbi would be a threat to the position of the US dollar, although many economists believe it will be years before it becomes a major reserve currency, given China’s tight financial market controls.
To be sure, our idiot politicians are sure to welcome this move as it will lead to further appreciation of the CNY, and more dollar destruction, which presumably will make the export of US-based financial innovation cheaper. Which of course, when faced with $10 trillion in budget deficits over the next decade, which will need about $15 trillion in incremental debt issuance, is completely irrelevant. Instead of focusing all its attention on the one thing that matters, i.e., making US Treasury debt purchases as attractive as possible for as long as possible, the US is now happy to throw future bond buyers under the bus, just so a few incumbents can get reelected on a myopic campaign promise. In the meantime, follow the price of gold: it speaks volumes about what the world thinks of the current reserve currency system.