De-Dollarization Complete: Iran Abandons US Dollar In Foreign Trade

Tyler Durden's picture

Since last May (and likely long before) when the topic of "de-dollarization" was first uttered in official circles (and not just tin-foil-hat-wearing blogs), the rest of the world (un-isolated as they are) has been warming to the idea that perhaps - just perhaps - it is time to de-dollarize (more or less depending on the despotic region in question). From currency swap agreements to bi-lateral trade agreements to selling US Treasuries and greatly rotating USD reserves into gold, the world's nations (small and large) appear less and less comfortable holdings dollars in this tempestuous world. Among the supporters of that first "de-dollarization" meeting were China and Iran and while the former continues to work down its exposure, the latter - Iran, according to Tasnim news agency, has almost entirely eliminated USDollars from its reserves and is no longer using dollars in foreign trade.


Nothing lasts forever...


As Bloomberg reports, Iran is no longer using US Dollars in foreign trade

“In trade exchanges with foreign countries, Iran uses other currencies including Chinese yuan, euro, Turkish lira, Russian ruble and South Korean Won,” Gholamali Kamyab, deputy head of the Central Bank of Iran, tells Tasnim news agency.

Iran to “soon” sign bilateral currency swap agreements with some countries, Kamyab says, without naming countries

As a reminder, The Central Bank of Iran said back in June 2014 it had “almost rid” U.S. dollar from forex reserves, replacing it with U.A.E. dirham... it appears to have completed that transition.

*  *  *

De-dollarization complete... and all this as the US tries to broker anti-nuclear accords and delays sanctions...

*  *  *

As we detailed previously, this move should not be a great surprise to any foreign nation.

America’s global economic dominance has been declining since 1998, well before the Global Financial Crisis. A large part of this decline has actually had little to do with the actions of the US but rather with the unraveling of a century’s long economic anomaly. China has begun to return to the position in the global economy it occupied for millenia before the industrial revolution. Just as the dollar emerged to global reserve currency status as its economic might grew, so the chart below suggests the increasing push for de-dollarization across the 'rest of the isolated world' may be a smart bet...



As Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid explains,

In 1950 China’s share of the world’s population was 29%, its share of world economic output (on a PPP basis) was about 5% (Figure 98). By contrast the US was almost the reverse, with 8% of the world’s population the US commanded 28% of its economic output.


By 2008, China’s huge, centuries-long economic underperformance was well down the path of being overcome (Figure 97).


Based on current trends China’s economy will overtake America’s in purchasing power terms within the next few years. The US is now no longer the world’s sole economic superpower and indeed its share of world output (on a PPP basis) has slipped below the 20% level which we have seen was a useful sign historically of a single dominant economic superpower. In economic terms we already live in a bipolar world. Between them the US and China today control over a third of world output (on a PPP basis).

However as we have already highlighted, the relative size of a nation’s economy is not the only determinant of superpower status. There is a “geopolitical” multiplier that must be accounted for which can allow nations to outperform or underperform their economic power on the global geopolitical stage. We have discussed already how first the unwillingness of the US to engage with the rest of the world before WWII meant that on the world stage the US was not a superpower inspite of its huge economic advantage, and second how the ability and willingness of the USSR to sacrifice other goals in an effort to secure its superpower status allowed it to compete with the US for geopolitical power despite its much smaller economy. Looking at the world today it could be argued that the US continues to enjoy an outsized influence compared to the relative size of its economy, whilst geopolitically China underperforms its economy. To use the term we have developed through this piece, the US has a geopolitical multiplier greater then 1, whilst China’s is less than 1. Why?

On the US side, almost a century of economic dominance and half a century of superpower status has left its impression on the world. Power leaves a legacy. First the USA’s “soft power” remains largely unrivalled - US culture is ubiquitous (think McDonald’s, Hollywood and Ivy League universities), the biggest US businesses are global giants and America’s list of allies is unparalleled. Second the US President continues to carry the title of “leader of the free world” and America has remained committed to defending this world. Although more recently questions have begun to be asked (more later), the US has remained the only nation willing to lead intervention in an effort to support this “free world” order and its levels of military spending continues to dwarf that of the rest of the world. US military spending accounts for over 35% of the world total and her Allies make up another 25%.

In terms of Chinese geopolitical underperformance there are a number of plausible reasons why China continues to underperform its economy on the global stage. First and foremost is its list of priorities. China remains committed to domestic growth above all other concerns as, despite its recent progress, millions of China’s citizens continue to live in poverty. Thus so far it has been unwilling to sacrifice economic growth on the altar of global power. This is probably best reflected in the relative size of its military budget which in dollar terms is less than a third the size of Americas. Second China has not got the same level of soft power that the US wields. Chinese-style communism has not had the seductive draw that Soviet communism had and to date the rise of China has generally scared its neighbors rather then made allies of them. These factors probably help explain why in a geopolitical sense the US has by and large appeared to remain the world’s sole superpower and so, using the model of superpower dominance we have discussed, helps explain why global geopolitical tensions had remained relatively low, at least before the global financial crisis.

However there is a case to be made that this situation has changed in the past five or so years. Not only has China’s economy continued to grow far faster than America’s, perhaps more importantly it can be argued that the USA’s geopolitical multiplier has begun to fall, reducing the dominance of the US on the world stage and moving the world towards the type of balanced division of geopolitical power it has not seen since the end of the Cold War. If this is the case then it could be that the world is in the midst of a structural, not temporary, increase in geopolitical tensions.

Why do we suggest that the USA’s geopolitical multiplier, its ability to turn relative economic strength into geopolitical power, might be falling? Whilst there are many reasons why this might be the case, three stand out. First, since the GFC the US (and the West in general) has lost confidence. The apparent failure of laissez faire economics that the GFC represented combined with the USA’s weak economic recovery has left America less sure then it has been in at least a generation of its free market, democratic national model. As this uncertainty has grown, so America’s willingness to argue that the rest of the world should follow America’s model has waned. Second the Afghanistan and in particular the Iraq War have left the US far less willing to intervene across the world. One of the major lessons that the US seems to have taken away from the Iraq war is that it cannot solve all of the world’s problems and in fact will often make them worse. Third, the rise of intractable partisan politics in the US has left the American people with ever less faith in their government.

The net result of these changes in sentiment of the US people and its government has been the diminishment of its global geopolitical dominance. The events of the past 5+ years have underlined this. Looking at the four major geopolitical issues of this period we raised earlier – the outcome of the Arab Spring (most notably in Syria), the rise of the Islamic State, Russia’s actions in Ukraine and China’s regional maritime muscle flexing – the US has to a large extent been shown to be ineffective. President Obama walked away from his “red line” over the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons. The US has ruled out significant intervention in Northern Iraq against the Islamic State.

America has been unable to restrain Pro-Russian action in Ukraine and took a long time (and the impetus of a tragic civilian airplane disaster) to persuade her allies to bring in what would generally be considered a “first response” to such a situation - economic sanctions. And so far the US has had no strategic response to China’s actions in the East and South China seas. Importantly these policy choices don’t necessarily just reflect the choice of the current Administration but rather they reflect the mood of the US people. In Pew’s 2013 poll on America’s Place in the World, a majority (52%) agreed that “the US should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own”. This percentage compares to a read of 20% in 1964, 41% in 1995 and 30% in 2002.

The geopolitical consequences of the diminishment of US global dominance

Each of these events has shown America’s unwillingness to take strong foreign policy action and certainly underlined its unwillingness to use force. America’s allies and enemies have looked on and taken note. America’s geopolitical multiplier has declined even as its relative economic strength has waned and the US has slipped backwards towards the rest of the pack of major world powers in terms of relative geopolitical power.

Throughout this piece we have looked to see what we can learn from history in trying to understand changes in the level of structural geopolitical tension in the world. We have in general argued that the broad sweep of world history suggests that the major driver of significant structural change in global levels of geopolitical tension has been the relative rise and fall of the world’s leading power. We have also suggested a number of important caveats to this view – chiefly that a dominant superpower only provides for structurally lower geopolitical tensions when it is itself internally stable. We have also sought to distinguish between a nation being an “economic” superpower (which we can broadly measure directly) and being a genuine “geopolitical” superpower (which we can’t). On this subject we have hypothesised that the level of a nations geopolitical power can roughly be estimated multiplying its relative economic power by a “geopolitical multiplier” which reflects that nations ability to amass and project force, its willingness to intervene in the affairs of the world and the extent of its “soft power”.

Given this analysis it strikes us that today we are in the midst of an extremely rare historical event – the relative decline of a world superpower. US global geopolitical dominance is on the wane – driven on the one hand by the historic rise of China from its disproportionate lows and on the other to a host of internal US issues, from a crisis of American confidence in the core of the US economic model to general war weariness. This is not to say that America’s position in the global system is on the brink of collapse. Far from it. The US will remain the greater of just two great powers for the foreseeable future as its “geopolitical multiplier”, boosted by its deeply embedded soft power and continuing commitment to the “free world” order, allows it to outperform its relative economic power. As America’s current Defence Secretary, Chuck Hagel, said earlier this year, “We (the USA) do not engage in the world because we are a great nation. Rather, we are a great nation because we engage in the world.” Nevertheless the US is losing its place as the sole dominant geopolitical superpower and history suggests that during such shifts geopolitical tensions structurally increase. If this analysis is correct then the rise in the past five years, and most notably in the past year, of global geopolitical tensions may well prove not temporary but structural to the current world system and the world may continue to experience more frequent, longer lasting and more far reaching geopolitical stresses than it has in at least two decades. If this is indeed the case then markets might have to price in a higher degree of geopolitical risk in the years ahead.

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ekm1's picture

This is capitulation by Iran, not victory.

Iran is neither Russia, nor China.

Soul Glow's picture

This is grand standing by Iran.

Those other two have been bypassing the dollar on every large trade deal and that's what matters.  Circulation via size and velocity.

Publicus's picture

China is returning to it's rightful place as the center of human civilization.

SafelyGraze's picture

when dollars are no longer used for trade, they can assume their rightful place: being loaned for tranches of triple-A bond obligations (and other similarly good instruments) in order to lever up derivatives that are anchoring the strong global financial system


Liberal's picture

As a staunch liberal, I strongly believe this is all motivated by racism! We must force Iran to adopt our affirmative action policy.

kaiserhoff's picture


But the Grand Mufti has blue eyes;)

SoilMyselfRotten's picture

Good time to bring over Bibi and give our Congress an earful, oh wait....

Soul Glow's picture

The great what's the best shitty currency debate.  I like gold personally.  Silver too.

serotonindumptruck's picture

How about enriched uranium?

How many Israeli shekels is an ounce of that worth?

chinoslims's picture

At Least gold cant be charged a negative interst rate Unless one considered the storage costs.

tarsubil's picture

This is so weird. When has China ever been the center of civilization? Even in the times they've been the most advanced, they were isolated and reactionary. Hence, the times they were the most advanced were a long long time ago. China is trying to work to be number one in some worthless number GDP. I feel sorry for the ravaged country when all those lost lives striving will be found to be wasted for nothing.

Calmyourself's picture

"wasted for nothing"  Au contraire, they have many empty and beautiful cities to live for, to strive for, to die for..   Mankind is a foolish breed, most doomed at birth to never truly open their eyes.  For a long time I was among them and still feel for them but I am starting to harden as the shades of myopia constantly pulled down over their eyes should clue more of them in.  It doesn't and that belies the truth: willful ignorance, empathy but never sympathy for that self imposed malady..

DIGrif's picture

"Willful ignorance" that I believe. I find that most can not see what is happening around them, and if you try and point it out, they are quite adamant about telling you how they don't care. Ask them how big Kim K's butt is and they know that, ask them about the latest reality show, they know that. Ask them about some meaningless sports game, they know that. Ask them about the economy or the state of the world, they have no idea. The information is all out there to be had, with little effort, so the only thing that truly describes these folks is "willful ignorance" with a large dose of appathy thrown in for good measure.

Oldrepublic's picture

In the late 18th century, China had the world's largest economy.

The British send a famous trade mission in the last decade of the 18th century in order to open the door to trade. The Chinese emperor said that China did not need any British goods! 

r3phl0x's picture

Well, after a battle or two, they learned they "needed" opium.

chinoslims's picture

Opium WAS to China as debt IS to US.

chinoslims's picture

The chinese word for china literally means middle country because they thought they were the center of the universe.  The Chinese have used the Ron Paul method of diplomacy, trade.  They refused to get involved in wars and creating a global military empire.  

How has global war treated the US?  Does China have their military men and women coming back in body bags or having its service members with blown off limbs?  What is the true cost of warfare?

The US believes it is the center of civilization as its empire crumbles begore its eyes.  $18 trillion debt, fighting Muslim  bogeymen, blatant corruption, growing socialism, dumbing down of the population and complete moral decay.

American arrogance will be its downfall.  When it realizes it is no longer the center of the universe (militarily and economically) it will be too late.  The Brits once thought they were the center of the universe.  They had the world reserve currency and a global empire.  The sun, at one time, never set on the british empire.   Where are the Brits now?

roadhazard's picture

Now we all know that's Jamaica, mon.

post turtle saver's picture

China has a long way to go... all those charts are based on PPP bullshit... nominal GDP, bitchez... run it like that and see what you get, China would have to double just to meet US current and, last I checked, US current isn't standing still to wait on them...

more red meat for the fifth column here... carry on, feel good about yourselves, you're "winning" lol

Winston Churchill's picture

Take the 40% financialization out of US GDP, and its the US that has a long way to go to

catch up with China.

Judging by Putin's recent statements,pre cleared with Peking, things are about to

get interesting.

WillyGroper's picture

WC, what do you make of "after the election I'll have more flexibility", the training of Russian troops in the US & the colonization of the Chinese in the USSA?

I don't see a benevolent cooperation here.

Winston Churchill's picture

Me neither.

There is no honour amongst thieves, or thieving psychopaths.Its only a matter of time

until you get doublecrossed.

The US has been led down the garden path to the woodshed, IMO.

post turtle saver's picture

pro tip, advanced economies are highly financialized... when China becomes an advanced economy their GDP contributing sectors will look similar to EU's and US'

so, no, that dog won't hunt...

shouldvekilledthem's picture

Long gas masks! they might outsource back the pollution to the West.

Truther's picture

Who needs Bankrupt $ when you have black and yellow gold.

dogfish's picture

Iran is giving a big FUCK YOU to the usa and the zionist.

kloot's picture

so if everyone is selling dollars why is the price rising!!

Sell low Buy high is what they are and will be doing.

We all know the USD is not backed by anything but our military might, and the smart money is already running to daddy for protection.

I love my Gold but if its not protected by the US it will be wise to hedge.

Pava's picture

...are you one of those anti-zionists freedom browlers?

dogfish's picture

No i am a man who belives in live and let live and dont think a dollar is worth killing or dying for.

Charming Anarchist's picture

Plus, life is a hell of a lot easier, safer, cheaper, funner and interesting when everybody honestly cooperates. 

Money Boo Boo's picture

"missle defense isn't really meant to protect America. It's a tool for global dominance...BMD's will provide the US with absolute freedom in using or threatening to use force in international relations (China's complaint),cementing US hegemony and make Americans masters of the world.....A version of Wilsonian idealism to be so authoritative as to be virtually immune from challenge"

- Noam Chomsky 2004 Hegemony or Survival

Chomsky has been pretty much right in all his writings going back to 1967. If you read now what he wrote then about Vietnam and what was really happening it's like reading the same playbook being used all over the world again in present day. Very prophetic.So.....

if the next administration dusts off the Raygunite playbook on "missile defense" once again heed his words above when thinking about what the real US/China realtionship is all about. The US wants and needs complete dominance around the globe and everything we're witnessing is to this end."Missile Defense" is code for we're near the end of the US playbook. Iran is just an interloper in this tale

Jacksons Ghost's picture

Had you quoted anyone but Chomsky, I would agree.

Money Boo Boo's picture

then you haven't really read his work, his libertarianism is real and in the spectrum of anarchinstic while he's been portrayed by pundits as a "commie" so everyone avoids his writing. He makes libertarians look like sissies. He hasn't gotten much wrong either in the last 50 years when calling out the American .Gov and all their bullshit. Just nobody listens becasue group think has branded him a commie. LOL lots of people need to wake up and stop using that word, it's dead.

LetThemEatRand's picture

TPTB label everyone who challenges their power as evil socialists, Marxists and/or terrorists.  It works pretty well on most Americans, even among those who think they know better.   

Money Boo Boo's picture

yes! and it's exatly that type of group think that will thwart any real change. It's too easily manipulated by the propoganda machine and too few are immune to it. If there was to be a real revolution, the first thing to attack is the propoganda machine and the group think that is controlled by it, otherwise there'll never be enough numbers to extract real change....sounds like a total long shot fantasy the more i write this down...

Soul Glow's picture


Chompsky wrote a book about 9/11 and said it was not an inside job.  Then a few years ago he recinded and on firther inspection it does appear to be an inside job.

I am a fan.

DaveyJones's picture

I actually emailed the man when he did that and he responded. Nice to see him on board.  

Ignatius's picture

"Then a few years ago he recinded and on firther inspection it does appear to be an inside job."

I follow developments pretty closely and have never heard that from Chomsky.


dogbreath's picture

Chomsky practices what he wrote about in Manufacturing Cansent and Neccessary Illusions.  He is an important author for what he doesn''t say.   I donated all his books to the local library a while back.

Ignatius's picture

My problem with Chomsky is his lack of critical thinking on deep events such as JFK & 9/11 -- he takes them at face value.  While Chomsky sees a unified establishment that is rational, Peter Dale Scott describes a ruling class that has competing factions and is irrational.  I support Scott's descriptiion and critique.  Chomsky completely ignores what the reaction would be in the US public mind if they as a group understood that 3000 Americans were sacrificed for US/elite geo-political gains as opposed to the bankrupt official narrative.

Money Boo Boo's picture

that's a great point and doesn't go unnoticed for sure. No this is not in defense of him as your critique is accurate but the rational behind your point is more a function of the rigors of academic discourse. He is a highly regarded academic and the pressure of intense peer review I think curtails his desire to venture into the scope of "conspiracy". He knows full well he can't definitively answer those questions and as such a peer reviewed academic opens up his "broadside" to very real and visceral attack if he steps off the path into the subjectivity of classified operations. His real strength is in breaking down the fundamentals of power that lead to JFK's and 911's. The events themselves are too difficult to discuss inside the rigors of academic discourse without definitive proof as leverage. Think in quasi-legal terms. Instead he attacks the broader issues of power and control which are the fundamentals that lead to these events.

Chupacabra-322's picture

Not to worry, those "Classified" 28 pages of which everyone by now & their mothers knows exactly what's in them will clear the air from the False Flag of 911.

Money Boo Boo's picture

having read and posted on this site now for almost 5 years now under various alias's, it's plainly obvious to anyone paying attention that most of the good ideas expressed on ZH are really for all intents and purposes "Chomsky-Lite" in expression.

no bones's picture

I dunno. You make some great points about Chomsky but my criticism is he doesn't talk about the banks, or the nature of money, or why its monopoly issuance leads to tyranny. These are major oversights. He talks about "states." 

Money Boo Boo's picture

he's proven through his activism against "state" controlled exercises in power that he can't fundamentally change the paradigm, hence all we see is what he warns about just getting worse and worse in the geopolitical theatre and the US pursuit of hegemony getting more and more overt. In the end he describes human motives and how they can be discerned through their use of language (being a linguist), banks and money are tools like guns and bombs. His descriptions of events have more to do with language, control, persuasion and how they misdirect their populace with the just the tools of language. Fundamentally if that link in the chain is broken then TPTB are pulled out by the root and the tools like money and banks are no longer theirs to exploit because the language of control is no longer effective in creating action.

no bones's picture

For example he recently said, "the problem isn't fiat money. The problem is excess capacity."  Straight out of the Keynesian playbook. "Maybe the Federal Reserve will give you some money," basically. I've read almost everything the guy's written, was one of my personal heroes in my 20s, but these are fundamental limitations that cannot be explained away by nuance. He acts as an unwitting gatekeeper leading people right back to the state they are trying to escape. At least he did for me.

He caveats the above statement with "I'm all for ending state fascism, BUT..." Problem is, people have to act NOW. And directing their energy toward the state, instead of ignoring it, is not going to work. People become paralysed.

PhilofOz's picture

I've often heard the term "gate-keeper" when it comes to Chomsky. There to lead the sheeple on a path somewhat off what the establishment tells you where to go, but making very sure those same sheeple don't wander off the path too much on issues such as 9/11. 

From the evidence I've seen, gate-keeper is appropriate.

Oldrepublic's picture

re:  gatekeepers

look at this very interesting chart showing how many foundations fund popular websites, and how it limit the discussion of those sites

oddjob's picture

Could you list your aliases?

Money Boo Boo's picture

Most of it was drunk posting. Quit drinking