The decade's most triggering comedy
Developing countries are seeking to reduce their dependence on the American dollar as the global reserve currency, some of which are instead turning to the Chinese yuan as the communist nation fosters a growing role for itself in the international economy.
The dollar has maintained dominance as the world’s reserve currency, held in significant quantities by central banks and foreign corporations in order to settle international trade and financial transactions, in the eight decades since the end of World War II. The dollar has strengthened over the past several years against other prominent currencies, such as the Japanese yen and the British pound, as other nations struggle to recover from the lockdown-induced recession and surmount resultant economic obstacles.
Leaders in several emerging market economies have renewed proposals to lessen reliance on the dollar as the Russian invasion of Ukraine challenges the international balance of power. Malaysia proposed the creation of an Asian Monetary Fund with the backing of China, while the United Arab Emirates and India discussed agreements to trade certain commodities in rupees and Saudi Arabia announced an openness to trading in currencies other than the dollar as the kingdom attempts to strengthen relations with China. Brazil and Argentina have likewise discussed the creation of a currency union to reduce reliance on the dollar.
The phenomena occur as China aggressively pushes to make itself the worldwide economic center of gravity. The nation’s Belt and Road Initiative, the center of the foreign policy of Chinese President Xi Jinping, has long been criticized as a debt-trap diplomacy scheme meant to increase political leverage in developing nations that default on their loans.
China has also sought to broker peace between Russia and Ukraine in recent months, a role on the global stage often reserved for the United States, which has bankrolled humanitarian and military assistance to Ukraine more than any other nation. Russian economic actors now use the yuan more than the dollar as sanctions from Western countries prompt the nation to increase cooperation with China.
David Bahnsen, the founder of Manhattan-based wealth management firm The Bahnsen Group, told The Daily Wire that Chinese officials are “acting in their self-interest, and we are the ones giving them the opening to do so.”
The relative soundness of the American economy, open trade and capital flows, and a history of enforcing the rule of law and property rights have nevertheless produced the dominant status of the dollar on the world stage. Bahnsen said that there is “absolutely” no chance of the dollar losing its present status in the foreseeable future, though he could see its “luster marginally decreasing” even as the currency remains “the cleanest shirt inside the laundry hamper.”
Americans benefit from the reserve currency status of the dollar through leverage the phenomenon creates with trade partners such as China. “I wish we would focus on pure dollar stability, but we do use it as a tool of manipulation and have the power to do so because of our reserve currency status,” Bahnsen added.
Chinese officials have been “intentional” in availing themselves of any opportunity to increase the power of their nation’s currency. “Settling trade in yuan will happen more and more if China demonstrates a stable and reliable currency exchange rate and mature bond market rooted in modern sensibilities,” Bahnsen continued. “Their movements in this direction the last decade are why their currency and bond market have outperformed almost all others.”