Congress Continues Its Quest to Erode the Dollar’s Reserve Currency StatusPaul-Martin Foss
Judging by the behavior of politicians in Washington you would think that the United States is a country ascendant, with decades of rapid growth ahead of it and ready to take its place on the world stage as a leading nation. Instead the US is an empire in decline, living off its past glory, riven by internal divisions, and with no concept of how to reclaim its vibrant economic growth. Year by year the government continues to enact more and more policies to impoverish the nation. The only saving grace is the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency, but Congress is doing everything it can to eliminate that and destroy the United States’ economic dominance.
Up for debate now in Congress is legislation that would allow OPEC member countries to be subject to US antitrust lawsuits. OPEC heavyweight Saudi Arabia has been proactive in responding, threatening to end its acceptance only of dollars for oil sales. If that were to come to pass it could spell the end of the petrodollar system and the dollar’s reign as the world’s reserve currency.
Most in Congress probably have no idea that this could happen, nor of the ramifications. They probably still assume that Saudi Arabia has to stay with the United States’ orbit or risk the overthrow of the monarchy. But Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) has shown his willingness to buck precedent and forge his own path. From the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi to the possibility of purchasing S-400 missiles from Russia, MbS will do what he wants and not what Washington wants.
If Congress does decide to go ahead and push through with its decision to pass the antitrust lawsuit legislation, and Saudi Arabia does decide to end its acceptance of dollars as the primary currency for oil sales, expect an immediate hit to the dollar’s reserve currency status. Fewer countries would demand dollars or dollar-denominated assets such as Treasury bonds. Interest rates on the national debt would rise, making it even more difficult for Congress to fund its deficit spending. Fiscal pressures would force Congress to raise taxes, making life more expensive for Americans.
For decades Americans have gotten used to having the world’s reserve currency. The ability to issue dollar-denominated debt and have a ready market for it has encouraged debt-fueled growth by government, businesses, and individuals alike. Losing that advantage will usher in a period of economic stagnation that will come as a hard blow and that will be difficult to overcome.
Economic growth will slow, prices will rise, and job losses will mount. Investors need to be prepared for that eventuality and invest accordingly, with an eye towards the long-range consequences of the dollar’s dethronement. Investment in assets not subject to the vicissitudes of the dollar, such as gold, will be crucial to weathering the coming storm. The dollar losing its reserve currency status won’t necessarily mean that it will be replaced by the euro or the yuan, but rather that the world monetary system will grow multipolar and that very likely a gold-convertible currency will take the dollar’s place.
Now is the time for investors to take the steps they need to in order to safeguard their assets in the future. With all indications being that the dollar will eventually lose its reserve currency status, investing in gold will be the best safeguard for those looking to protect themselves against a collapse in the value of their assets.