International Monetary Fund

China Embraces Gold In Advance Of Post-Dollar Era

To challenge the US dollar hegemony and increase its power in the global realm of finance, China has a potent gold strategy. Whilst the State Council is preparing itself for the inevitable decay of the current international monetary system, it has firmly embraced gold in its economy. With a staggering pace the government has developed the Chinese domestic gold market, stimulated private gold accumulation and increased its official gold reserves in order to ensure financial stability and support the internationalisation of the renminbi.

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At the latest G20 meeting, China’s central bank vowed to promote the use of SDRs in the Chinese economy, just four months after the IMF decided to include the RMB as part of the currency basket un-derlying SDRs. Adding the RMB marks only the 5th time the Fund changed the composition of the basket since formally moving away from a gold based system in 1974. However, as history shows, the SDR has been unable to maintain value as gold has. Adding the RMB to the basket will hardly change that.

The Weirdest Possible Outcomes For The Strangest Election In U.S. History

Elections have entered the world of the weird because America itself is on the edge of something that will shake its very core. What that event will be is hard to say because there are so many possibilities, but tensions of this caliber usually escalate to crisis before they deescalate, and tensions today are surely escalating. The elections only serve as a gauge for how close to the bottom of the abyss we actually are.

Frontrunning: April 14

  • Global shares reach four-month high, forex hit by Singapore sting (Reuters)
  • Dollar Rally Hits Commodities as Europe Halts Global Stock Gains (BBG)
  • Currencies Across Asia Fall Sharply Against U.S. Dollar (WSJ)
  • IEA expects limited impact from oil output freeze at Doha (Reuters)
  • IEA Sees Oil Oversupply Almost Gone in Second Half on Shale Drop (BBG)
  • BofA Profit Declines 13% on Trading Slump, Energy Reserves (BBG)

U.S. Futures Flat After Oil Erases Overnight Losses; Dollar In The Driver's Seat

In another quiet overnight session, the biggest - and unexpected - macro news was the surprise monetary easing by Singapore which as previously reported moved to a 2008 crisis policy response when it adopted a "zero currency appreciation" stance as a result of its trade-based economy grinding to a halt. As Richard Breslow accurately put it, "If you need yet another stark example of the fantasy storytelling we amuse ourselves with, juxtapose today’s Monetary Authority of Singapore policy statement with the storyline that the Asian stock market rally intensified on renewed optimism over the global economy. Singapore is a proxy for trade and economic growth ground to a halt last quarter." The Singapore announcement led to a sharp round of regional currency weakness just as the dollar appears to have bottomed and is rapidly rising.

Angola Could Be OPEC's First Member To Fall

The Angola crisis is a warning to the other struggling OPEC countries. Though the larger nations are better off, sustained low prices will test their financial stability as well. The weak links have started to give way, and a few others might find themselves in the same situation as struggling Angola. A nation facing such a severe financial crisis will begin to question the necessity of remaining in OPEC.

 

Frontrunning: April 13

  • China trade surprise gives stocks a lift (Reuters)
  • JPMorgan profit hurt by drop in investment banking revenue (Reuters)
  • About 40,000 Verizon workers launch strike (Reuters)
  • Regulators Set to Reject Some Big Banks’ ‘Living Wills’ (WSJ)
  • More Startups Are Getting Lower Valuations Than Joining the Billion-Dollar Club (BBG)
  • Closures and court cases leave Turkey's media increasingly muzzled (Reuters)

Former IMF Chief Economist Admits Japan's "Endgame" Scenario Is Now In Play

Japan is heading for a full-blown solvency crisis as the country runs out of local investors and may ultimately be forced to inflate away its debt in a desperate end-game, one of the world’s most influential economists has warned.  "One day the BoJ may well get a call from the finance ministry saying please think about us – it is a life or death question - and keep rates at zero for a bit longer."

Barclays Warns "Grexit" May Return This Summer While Tsipras "Demonizes" IMF

"We continue to think Greece has the potential to return to the headlines, and we do not rule out the prospect of “Grexit” returning... We note the more fragile European political environment (Dutch referendum, UK’s EU referendum, likely snap elections in Spain, key elections in France and Germany in 2017) compared to previous episodes, and the possibility that the increased noise around Greece could potentially influence the UK referendum on EU membership. Furthermore, the ongoing migration crisis in which Greece plays a central role is exacerbating tensions at both domestic and European levels."