Monday, September 24, 2007

regime change

picture link

This topic was somewhat pre-empted in the comments on the last post, but I have been thinking about fleshing it out, so here goes.

Much ado about nothing regarding parity with the US$, there is a much bigger story brewing just under the surface.

Some of you more interested types may have already read this, but I have redacted it below for your edification.

The dark cloud? The U.S. economy

From Saturday's Globe and Mail
September 21, 2007 at 11:04 PM EDT

WASHINGTON — If the United States were a patient, a doctor might look at the tumbling dollar like a sudden drop in blood pressure. It's a symptom...of a binge.

For too long, Americans have been gorging on cheap credit and foreign oil, and all things that go with the lifestyle – monster homes, big cars and big-screen TVs. For 15 years, the U.S. economy has been a magnet for global products and credit.

Now the patient is overindulged; his credit card maxed out.

The dollar is falling in large part because foreigners are no longer willing to pay for all this excess...And this week, Ben Bernanke and the U.S. Federal Reserve injected a new concern into the mix – that cutting short-term interest rates could fuel inflation.

This is isn't a story about the Canadian's all about the United States.

The greenback is tumbling against virtually every currency that isn't pegged to the dollar...

“During this period of extreme turbulence, when our attention is riveted on near-term events, it's easy to miss the startling fact that since Bretton Woods ended, the U.S. dollar has never been this low,”...

Over the past five years, the dollar has lost roughly a quarter of its value...the United States could even cede its role as the world's reserve currency...

This week, Saudi Arabia opted not to match the lower U.S. interest rates, even though...the riyal – has been pegged to the dollar since 1986. The move suggests the Saudis may soon abandon the peg, setting off a stampede out of the U.S. dollar by oil-rich Gulf states...

Two of Saudi Arabia's neighbours, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, have already said they want to cut their U.S. dollar reserves...
“Because the oil-rich nations are paid in an increasingly falling U.S. dollar, their purchasing power diminishes and their imported inflation surges,”...“Economic realities are making the current arrangement increasingly untenable.”

There is an estimated $3.5-trillion (U.S.) of Arab money parked in U.S. dollars. If Saudis and their neighbours decide they no longer need to hold U.S. dollars (or price their oil in dollars), the greenback's decline could become a rout.

In an ideal world, a lower dollar should eventually ease the U.S. trade deficit...But at more than 5 per cent of gross domestic product, the trade and current account deficits remain exceptionally high by historical standards.

...Together, China and oil account for roughly 80 per cent of the U.S. trade deficit.

So unless the price of oil falls substantially or China moves quickly to revalue the yuan, the trade deficit is fated to remain high – even as the dollar falls.
It looks like a deep pile of doo-doo for the US economy (and GM went on strike today), and there have been rumblimgs of pricing oil in Euros for some time (some say that that was a big motivator for invading Iraq), and it looks as if that might be closer to a reality every day.

The Iranian President addresses the UN today, Harper? Hmmm. North-west Passage. Alberta oil reserves. High loon. Over-extension of the US military. Blackwater kicked out of Iraq. Big history in the making?


Successful Agent said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
misanthropic curmudgeon said...

two questions I always ask at an open house:

1: why is the vendor selling?

2: is the property owned by a RE agent?


If you are so succesful why do you always advertise here for free? Same pitch and same bull shit.

solipsist said...

2: is the property owned by a RE agent?

I think that there are a lot of those these days - perhaps a preponderance (besides flippers).

I think that they have repeated themselves for so long that they believe it now. I have written about the saga of my neighbour (agent) who sold to an agent. He had no clue about what was really going on - just that prices "only go up". He did get away with his shirt though.

why do you always advertise here for free?

He only advertises for a few hours until I detect and delete his crap.

No advertising. No Spam.

Aleks said...

Back in 1999 when I first started working in tech I remember hearing that Glass-Steagall had been repealed because "it wasn't needed anymore" and even then, knowing nothing about economics or even what Glass-Steagall was, I thought that sounded stupid. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the recent credit bubble was a direct result of Glass-Steagall being repealed.

Apparently now the "up-tick rule" has also been repealed and I can't help thinking that somebody is trying to repeat all the mistakes of the 20's and cause another depression. I can't think what possible benefit there is to repealing the rule, but I can see huge downside.

costa rica said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
solipsist said...

costa rica - piss off with the spam, would ya?

Anonymous said...


Good questions to ask at an open house.

I told someone once that my husband was in the real estate business and they said that he must own a few properties by now.

They were surprised and got down right nasty when I said that he doesn't own any property and never has.

Like somehow there is some rule that people in the real estate business have to own houses.

Crash and burn baby. Crash and burn.

Anonymous said...

"Like somehow there is some rule that people in the real estate business have to own houses."

Well, it is kinda odd that they wouldn't own RE. It would be like a car salesman that doesn't own a car :)

Anonymous said...

If I was selling $20,000 cars for $50,000, and knew it, then I would also be a (rich) car salesman who didn't own a car.

Anonymous said...

Anon with the real estate business husband here.

Yes, would we buy a $50,000 car today knowing that in a year the price will fall to $20,000.

It may sound odd to some but it makes perfect sense to us.