“The Dethroning of the US Dollar could happen sooner than you think,” says Keith Fitz-Gerald in a recently published article. The implications of this for asset protection purposes are huge – now is the time to diversify out of the collapsing dollar, and protect your wealth and assets through the use of offshore corporate banking structures.
By Keith Fitz-Gerald Investment Director Money Morning/The Money
By now virtually every investor has heard the argument that the U.S.
dollar is slated to lose its status as the global reserve currency. And that’s
good – as far as it goes.
What’s bad is that many of these investors have yet to latch onto the fact
that this could happen much sooner than many people realize and in a
manner that will catch most by surprise.
Let’s take a look at the three key reasons that this shift away from the U.S.
dollar happening – and sooner rather than later:
1. The Asian Region Currency Partnership: Japan, once the staunchest of
U.S. allies, is leading the charge to form a regional currency partnership
based on closer ties between itself, China and South Korea. Ostensibly
part of the second trilateral “leader’s meeting,” that happened earlier this
year, financial cooperation was front and center on the agenda (at Japan’s
invitation) as a means of coping with the ongoing global financial crisis
and with the subsequent resumption of worldwide financial growth. It was
also key to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
discussions that took place this past weekend – with the waning influence
of the U.S. economy again playing a key role in the discussion amongst
potential ASEAN trading block partners.
At a time when U.S. leaders are fooling only themselves by pretending
this country remains the key player in the health of the worldwide
economy, Japan’s newly elected Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama didn’t
mince words following the trilateral meeting when making such comments
as “until now we have been too reliant on the United States” and “I would
like to develop policies that focus more on Asia” to press-corps attendees.
Having spent 20 years in the region, I can’t say I’m surprised by this
development. And you shouldn’t be, either. Between China, South Korea
and Japan, we’re talking about 16% of the world’s gross domestic product
(GDP) – a figure that’s growing almost daily, by the way.
There are obviously some significant challenges, given the cultural
sensitivities that remain in the region as a result of World War II. But even
those are being trumped by today’s serious global financial demands. After
the three-nations met, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao noted that “we
have agreed to seek common ground and shelve our differences.”
In a column written from my family home in Japan earlier this year, I
noted how important it is to “read between the lines” when investors are
attempting to decode English-language statements being made by officials
in Japan or China. It’s not what’s actually being said – at least, not as
Westerners hear it – that’s important. That’s actually been shifted a bit by
the translator. You really have to go back and make an effort to see just
what it was the official actually meant.
Granted, that’s not the easiest of exercises. But it does force you to really
look at what’s taking place – which will usually give you a much-more
accurate picture than if you just trust what’s said by the Western press.
So Wen Jiabao’s statement can be construed as it’s “time to get down to
2. When “Black Gold” is No Longer Quoted in Greenbacks: Middle
Eastern nations and members of the Organization of the Petroleum
Exporting Countries (OPEC) finally couldn’t contain themselves any
longer and leaked information a few weeks back that they’re pursuing a
non-U.S. dollar trading basket as a replacement for the current U.S. dollar-
traded oil markets.
We’ve been forecasting this for some time. The difference this time around
is that the Middle Eastern nations are now all but openly in cahoots with
China, Russia, Japan and France – all of whom the United States continues
to blithely believe it can outmaneuver.
While the meetings have been held in secret, my sources in Hong Kong
and the Persian Gulf region suggest that the move is imminent and that the
establishment of an independent trading market is all that’s keeping us
from a day in which oil prices are no longer quoted in dollars. Oil will
instead trade in the combined basket using currencies from the nations I
just mentioned. Led by China and potentially – although this is a big leap –
tied in good measure to the yuan.
As a side note, this may at least partially explain the rise in gold prices as
enlightened traders begin to hedge the dollar’s ultimate demise. This
makes sense for two reasons: First, China uses oil in an incrementally
greater proportion than the United States because it remains less energy
efficient. That means that China will take in an increasingly larger
percentage of world supplies.
Second, gold is the only “currency” that is potentially liquid enough to
serve as a transitional store of value until the new currency basket arrives. Pun absolutely intended.
Incidentally, you can expect Brazil and India to join the party shortly,
leaving the United States even further out in the cold. And while we’re at
it, my guess is that the new oil markets will be based in Shanghai, and not
in New York or Chicago.
Watch, too, as the United Kingdom is dragged – kicking and screaming –
to the euro because it will have no choice but to abandon the U.S. dollar.
3. U.S. Firms Are Already Adopting a China Focus: While ostensibly
supporting the recovery here, major U.S. companies are already looking at
what it will take to list their shares on China’s stock exchanges. Although
I’ve been following this story for at least two years, it’s received almost no
attention in the U.S. news media. When it does happen – and it will – this
will be one of the biggest wakeup calls yet for those Western investors
who refuse to acknowledge Asia’s economic ascendance.
I’m not talking about fringe companies here, either. I’m talking about
stalwarts like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT), The Coca-Cola Co.
(NYSE: KO), and General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE), to name just a few.
In short, companies that U.S. investors view as American as apple pie are
pushing to be viewed as Asian as quickly as possible.
I originally thought this wouldn’t happen for five to seven years (which is
still faster than most investors believed possible). Instead, I give this shift
12 months to 24 months – at most – before we see the first listings.
The fallout from this will be considerable. The historic financial centers of
London and New York will take yet another step to the sideline as new
Asian markets emerge.
To some, this will sound like scary stuff. But uncertainty breeds
opportunity. And savvy investors will welcome the changes because there
will be a fascinating fallout that almost no one is talking about.
The emergence of Asia as a true global financial center will make it so
much easier to raise capital in that part of the world. All this new Asian
capital will likely lead to a new golden age of investing – certainly in Asia,
but also in the United States and Europe to the extent that companies that
pursue these listings will have newfound sources of capital to buttress
their balance sheets.
Not all companies will be regarded equally, however. For investors, the
best choices will be those companies that can immediately use the money
they raise through Chinese offerings to enhance their global operations,
increase worldwide sales, and cement their relationships with sources of
So if there’s one key take away in all this, it’s this to paraphrase the words
of American writer Ruth E. Renkel: “Don’t fear shadows – they simply
mean there’s a light shining somewhere nearby.”
Note: Keith Fitz-Gerald is the Chief Investment Strategist for Money Map Press LLC, as well as for Money Morning, a daily global investing news service with more than 500,000 daily readers in 30 countries. He is one of the world’s leading experts on global investing, particularly when it comes to Asia’s emergence as a global powerhouse. He contributed this article to Q Wealth Report.