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Local Currencies To Replace Dollar For 5 Countries' Dealings 519

Posted by timothy
from the small-green-pieces-of-paper dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — the BRICS group of fastest growing economies — signed an agreement to use their own currencies instead of the predominant US dollar in issuing credit or grants to each other. The world does need a new financial architecture, but the BRICS by themselves are unlikely to be able to drive that change."
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Local Currencies To Replace Dollar For 5 Countries' Dealings

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  • Bad News for USD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hinesbrad (1923872) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @02:22AM (#35845684)
    This is VERY bad news to an already weakened dollar.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by phantomfive (622387)
      In practical terms it's not. As the articles mention, this only applies to loans, not to trade. Think about it, who ever wanted a loan of Brazilian Reales? Trade is where the real action happens, and it will still happen in dollars. If this has an effect on the dollar, it will be because of investor fear, not because of any real change in the fundamentals.

      People trade in dollars because it is so liquid in terms of finance options. As one example, if you are Korean, you can send a shipment of parts to Peru
      • Re:Bad News for USD (Score:4, Interesting)

        by benjamindees (441808) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @02:42AM (#35845752) Homepage

        More like you *have* to buy treasuries for a month otherwise your dollars lose 3% of their value due to inflation. India and China would love to get loans of Reals. Hamburger futures are going up in value.

        • by lee1026 (876806)

          Considering that Brazil have had lots of hyperinflation in the past, and that the Real is seeing very high inflation right now, inflation is the last reason why you would want to hold Reals instead of dollars.

          • by jonbryce (703250)

            However it is a very good reason why you would want a loan in Reals. You convert them into a hard currency on receipt and hopefully by the time you come to repay, the amount due will be very small.

          • Re:Bad News for USD (Score:5, Informative)

            by Dunbal (464142) * on Sunday April 17, 2011 @07:20AM (#35846690)

            Yeah because the US dollar is not undergoing any inflation at all. Oh wait no, the US simply measures inflation differently by first taking out the prices that are going up (like say energy and transport), then massaging the numbers with subjective bullshit algorithms like hedonics, and then printing a number that has absolutely no contact with reality anymore and calling it inflation.

            Tell me why I should buy a 10 year note at 3.4% per year in a currency that is shedding value like never before on foreign exchange markets and whose government is denying inflation while at the same time conducting policy that is leading to a very real risk of hyperinflation? No thanks. I can get 8% interest on the Costa Rican colon and surprisingly thanks to the devaluing US dollar, the exchange rate is also working in my favor giving me a net of about 10% per year in US dollars. Now when a currency from a 2 bit 3rd world banana republic is more solid than the US dollar, you know that you guys are in trouble.

      • Trade is between companies not nations.

        Companies that trade between those countries will probably start to use national currencies. Because when they get their money they want to invest them in their local economy. However since these countries - for now - represent a small part of the world economy in trade, it will not be a big problem for the dollar.

        I wonder if BRICS had not done this had not the US given BRICS the finger in WIPO and started the ACTA treaty outside WIPO ?

        • Re:Bad News for USD (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 17, 2011 @07:35AM (#35846740)

          The US is always giving someone the finger. It's called "US foreign policy". Recently the US tacked on a clause to a treaty with my country that guaranteed immunity from prosecution for war crimes for US citizens while in this country. My country rejected the treaty.

          Then you wonder why people hate you, and why things like 9/11 happen. How about learning to live with the rest of the planet, instead of trying to tell it what to do all the time? The US is certainly not an example to follow - its economy stinks, they're not world leaders in anything (except perhaps waste produced per capita), its empty promises of freedom and democracy have been raped and usurped by its own self serving politicians, its human rights record is appalling, its warmongering is not tolerable. What's to like about the US? You can keep it.

        • I wonder if BRICS had not done this had not the US given BRICS the finger in WIPO and started the ACTA treaty outside WIPO ?

          Yes. They've been looking for ways to move away from the dollar since the financial collapse. That is the motivating factor here, not the ownership of music and movies (which is a relatively insignificant portion of the economy).

      • by Mashiki (184564)

        Well you can ask Iceland how using multiple non-localized currencies worked for them for loans. Total economic collapse is never fun, especially when your currency is no longer valued enough to cover even the interest.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Likewise relying on another country's currency for your loans is a dumb idea. Especially when that country can't keep its own finances in order and likes to piss away copious amounts of money on fighting brown people.
      • Re:Bad News for USD (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @03:52AM (#35845996) Homepage Journal

        In more practical terms, the dollar loses it's importance to the world. Remember the '70's (if you're old enough) when the oil producing countries decided that they wouldn't accept the dollar as payment for their products. They wanted something real to back up the payments. Gold.

        All by itself, this erosion of faith in the dollar wouldn't mean diddly. But, this is just a streamlet which feeds a good sized river. One day, the dollar won't even be accepted in half the countries of the world. "Your green money is no good here, white man - go exchange it for real money, then we'll barter!"

      • by TheLink (130905) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @04:45AM (#35846162) Journal

        The less the rest of the world uses the US dollar, the worse it becomes for the USA. This is actually a serious issue for the USA.

        Analogy: in Zimbabwe when Mugabe printed lots of Zimbabwe dollars, he was basically taxing everyone who held Zimbabwe dollars. He transferred wealth from them to him and his cronies (who I assume got some of it). The rest of the world mostly didn't care or laughed because they didn't use Zimbabwe dollars.

        The rest of the world however is living in USA's "Zimbabwe" because petroleum, grain, CPUs, country-sized loans and lots of other stuff are all in US dollars. Many countries hold billions or trillions in US dollars to trade stuff with each other.

        So in the past the US could create money at will and thus "tax" the rest of the world ( everyone who holds net positive amounts of US dollars including net creditors[1]). They could spend the created money on big projects and pay (or owe) the rest of the world in US dollars for oil, food, toys etc. As long as they didn't over do it, nobody seemed to notice or care.

        Recently the US created trillions of US dollars (google for Federal Reserve trillions) but rather than the money going into making most of the USA richer, those trillions went to bail-out cronies who lost/siphoned/wasted trillions in the first place.

        The rest of the world is probably starting to notice that created trillions whether directly or indirectly, hence they are switching from the US dollar. They cannot switch too fast because if they start a panic, their billions or more in US dollars could become worth even less.

        [1] Take China as an example. The USA owes China trillions. Foolish people think that means the USA is screwed. But imagine if Hasbro owed their suppliers millions in Monopoly money. Who really is screwed here? Creating US dollars in computers is a lot cheaper than printing Monopoly money ;).

        The USA is only screwed if China says, you can't owe us in US dollars any more. It has to be paid in Euro or RMB.

        So this news is certainly bad for the USA.

        • by DarkOx (621550)

          China would have no legal basis for doing that. What they own primarily are bonds in the form of treasuries, those specify payment in dollars, and say nothing about the buying power of a dollar. So we in fact can pay them back with a currency inflated to the point of uselessness but at the expense of destroying our own economy of course.

          The real questions are will be the ones choosing to race to the bottom with currency valuation or will our hands be forced. Right now it can't be argued that the FED as a

      • by definate (876684)

        Interesting, though this doesn't mean much. Trade will still be in USD, it's just loans will only be made in their own currencies. Even more so, it will only be made in their respective currencies WHEN dealing with each other. Though, you can see why they limited it to "only when dealing with each other", since China would be forced to drop $1 trillion of its USD assets. Which would be hilarious... chaotic, but still hilarious.

        This seems less of a "lets get rid of the USD" and more of a "lets stop our banks

        • by gmhowell (26755) <gmhowell@gmail.com> on Sunday April 17, 2011 @05:16AM (#35846254) Homepage Journal

          I have studied it, albeit years ago.

          Two reasons to do this: first, they retain more control over monetary and fiscal policy by not using another commodity, be it gold or USD, particularly if the value of the commodity (USD) doesn't appear that it will be as stable in the future as it has been. If they really believed in this advantage or the weakness of the USD, they would have gone in more than what they have. Although perhaps it is testing the waters.

          The second, probably bigger issue, is pride. This group of five economicallly small nations could stand up to the big bully on the global scene.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 17, 2011 @02:44AM (#35845762)

      The dollar is kept artificially high in value due to international trade. The current status quo kind of subsidizes the US way of life.

      The US has had the ability to influence and bargain what are essentially one way "free trade " agreements. This is all about to come to an end.

        The dollar will drop somewhat on Monday and unless something big happens within 10- 15 years the US will eventually become like Germany in 1923.
      Not to sound like chicken little but Americans should prepare for the worst, international currency and economic policy is changing with less regard taken for preserving US$ backed wealth than you would think.

      Internationally, Ghadaffi was pushing for a gold backed currency (US gold reserves are actually quite small and has had counterfeiting problems) the problem with this is that to keep the same amount of paper money in circulation gold would be valued at almost $20,000 an oz. To counter this we would need to set back $$$ values and circulation to levels seen pre WWII.

      • US gold reserves are actually quite small and has had counterfeiting problems

        Counterfeit gold? Tell us more.

        • Re:Bad News for USD (Score:5, Informative)

          by jonbryce (703250) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @05:47AM (#35846394) Homepage

          You take tungsten, slightly less dense than gold, and a lot cheaper, mix it with a small amount of a more dense but more expensive metal to get up to the right density, then mix and plate it with about 50% gold. Very difficult to detect if you do it right, and costs a little over half the price of real gold.

          • by mangu (126918) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @08:36AM (#35846994)

            You take tungsten, slightly less dense than gold, and a lot cheaper, mix it with a small amount of a more dense but more expensive metal to get up to the right density, then mix and plate it with about 50% gold. Very difficult to detect if you do it right, and costs a little over half the price of real gold.

            Look, Archimedes called and he wants his density method for counterfeit detection back. The method you describe may be sufficient to sell fake bullion to Ethiopia [google.com], where it seems that you don't even need to get the density right, but it will not fool any serious gold trader.

            The problem is not density alone, hardness is fundamental, because practical methods to identify metals today are based on speed of sound [bamr.co.za] in the metal.

            Ultrasonic thickness measuring equipment is the best way to detect fake metals, it works in a principle similar to the traditional "ringing sound" method for detecting fakes. Gold coins and bullion have a precisely defined thickness, if you use an ultrasonic transducer to measure it and get a wrong result it's a fake. And, of course, the transition inside the bar from gold to tungsten is trivially detected [youtube.com] when you have the proper equipment, which you surely have if you are trading in large amounts of gold.

            In an "arms race" scenario, technology definitely works against the counterfeiters. It's much harder and more expensive to create a gold-coated tungsten bar than to detect it.

    • by rve (4436) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @02:48AM (#35845786)

      This is VERY bad news to an already weakened dollar.

      The dollar has been overvalued for decades, and look at the result: manufacturing jobs have moved overseas, and a vastly negative trade balance. With an over valued currency, It's simply cheaper to import something than to produce it locally.

      A high exchange rate doesn't make a currency strong anyway, long term stability and low inflation are more important.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by roman_mir (125474)

        With an over valued currency, It's simply cheaper to import something than to produce it locally.

        Ignorance is a bliss.

        If a worthless currency was such a great thing for economy, Zimbabwe would have ruled the world, Argentina would have been up there with it, USSR would have dominated, Weimar Republic of Germany would have drowned the world in its currency.

        NO. It's not the 'overvalued' currency that drives manufacturing jobs overseas. It's WEAK currency coupled with government regulations that destroy incentive to save capital and invest it in local economy, it's all the shit that drives prices up - pri

        • by Hognoxious (631665) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @03:15AM (#35845882) Homepage Journal

          Call on line 1. Something about an excluded middle.

        • by Lehk228 (705449)
          Are you seriously arguing that deflation is a good thing rather than an economy destroying disaster?

          Ignorance is a bliss.

          you must be happy as hell
          • by roman_mir (125474) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @04:04AM (#35846034) Homepage Journal

            Yes, deflation is the best thing that happens to economy. You have never observed deflation - which is literally contraction of monetary supply.

            Money must be valuable, otherwise it drives investment capital out and with that go the jobs. Yes, deflation is the best thing for economy from point of view of consumers as well - they get the benefit of saying: today I bought some bread. It was CHEAPER than a year ago.

            Deflation is only the enemy of the state officials who rely on inflation to wipe out their ever increasing debts, because they can't stop consuming and they like to give free money to corporations and to voters for obvious reasons.

            Welcome to the economics.

            • by Sique (173459)

              Deflation means, that no one will be motivated to invest any money - it will be more worth next week and buy more. Deflation means that all investions will put off as long as possible. So deflation is actually bad for an economy.

              • Re:Bad News for USD (Score:4, Interesting)

                by roman_mir (125474) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @04:40AM (#35846144) Homepage Journal

                That's nonsense. Inflation means that your money will be worth less tomorrow, so you can't generate savings to start a new business - nobody WANTS your money for labor/tools/whatever.

                You are completely disregarding the fact that USA had deflation throughout the 19 century and past WWII, when prices were falling naturally due to the currency that was gaining in value and people had higher and higher standards of living. However past WWII the problem was that government saw the increase in economic activity as an invitation for more inflation (money printing), while in 19 century they did not have fiat in the first place, so they couldn't devalue the currency.

                In 19 century the bread people bought a year ago cost MORE than one they bought year from then, and it was good for general welfare (which is what USA Constitution promotes, not personal, but general welfare, and general welfare implies stronger currency).

                • Inflation means that your money will be worth less tomorrow, so you can't generate savings to start a new business - nobody WANTS your money for labor/tools/whatever.

                  Yes, that's entirely the point. People viewing money as a way of storing value is very bad for the economy. This is one of the reasons why the gold standard was abandoned. If you have inflation, money is a hot potato - you don't want to hang onto it because it will eventually become worthless. You want to invest it in things that actually generate wealth. For a simple example, it's better to use it to buy seeds and plant them. At the end of the year, you have crops which are worth more than the money

                • by Cyberax (705495)

                  That's why you don't SAVE money. You get a LOAN in a bank and start your business RIGHT NOW instead of waiting for years to save enough money.

            • by Noughmad (1044096)

              With deflation, there is no incentive for spending/investing. I hope I don't have to explain why that is bad for the economy.

              • by roman_mir (125474)

                What the hell are you all smoking?

                19 century USA had PLENTY of incentive for spending/investing, yet the money appreciated by a factor of 2.

                Past 1913 the money value fell by a factor of 100.

                Who is investing into US economy NOW? I certainly do not.

                As to spending - it's not about spending, it's about your purchasing power. If you can buy more tomorrow with the same money, you are better off, but you do not stop spending today - you still need food and clothing and shelter and goods.

                Who DOES NOT buy TV or a co

          • Uh, of course deflation is good, if the credit markets know about it (otherwise then, yes, deflation causes defaults). I mean really, HELLO THERE, EARTH TO PARENT, the GP just laid out all the points on why inflation is bad. Are you gonna take issue with any of them or not? Name just one country that was wiped out by deflation -- It doesn't happen, it can't happen, unless you actually physically steal the currency to deflate it. Inflation on the other hand is cheap, easy, and ACTUALLY DOES WIPE OUT COUNTRIE

      • by Fractal Dice (696349) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @03:24AM (#35845928) Journal
        One could argue that the dollar *is* what the US manufactures. Since it's been used as the world's reserve currency, printing dollars has behaved essentially like mining gold would have a hundred years ago.
      • I think I predicted this here on /. in 07/08, earlier? i'll have to google. Taken a bit longer than expected, but economies are like oil tankers. 11/12 is going to be real painful for the ordinary Joe. You now have the choice of more recession or inflation (Hint, TPTB'll pick inflation). Stockmarket's flying though, to da moon.

        This has been on the cards since 2000 and you can blame the Federal Reserve and it's owners JPM and GS.

        Note, the shit won't *really* hit the fan till oil is priced in other currencies

  • by unity100 (970058) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @02:51AM (#35845798) Homepage Journal
    ENTIRE modern financial structure depends on trust. That's that. Void papers and monies backed by various privately owned central banks or private investment firms had been the perpetrator of this trust system so far. And all the world obliged by it.

    If you really go down to it, there is nothing real left backing the financial and monetary values and papers right now. They are SO inflated and complicated that, one top hedge fund manager said on cnn, even he himself doesnt know the exact composition of the fund he was managing. However this fund too, is taken as a real fiscal value, and is also considered as a backer of monetary value of the country it is being traded in.

    water vapor. if you erase that water vapor and overinflated stocks, you will see that nothing remains backing the money of most countries like switzerland, britain, usa.

    whereas this BRIC alliance that the summary so gleefully drops down, actually PRODUCES value. they have solid backing for their money. contrary to the others, you can actually buy solid products and services with that money from those countries.

    Once there is traction behind these, and the water vapor of the established financial scourge in the west is ignored, everything easily will change.

    really. china produces most of the world's products now. so, what ? some investment bank from wall street, is going to threaten china ? oh boy. what will happen if china says 'give me yuan' ?
    • financial chicanery is something that only happens in the west?

      genuine economic activity only happens outside the west?

      the us dollar has weakened, so it makes sense to look at other currencies for transactions. if those other currencies also weaken, well then you look around again for the next safest currency

      that's the beginning and end of the entire story here

      currently, the chinese real estate market is overheating. some say china could go through the same bust followed by anemia that japan has suffered si

      • by unity100 (970058)
        your understanding of the economic situation is too funny.

        american financial market has not only been inflated 610x or so its value, but also these nonexistent, fraudulent papers have been traded to entire world countries.

        this is the reason behind the 2008 crisis. and this is the source of the disparage. compared to that, yes, we can say real economic value only happens outside usa.

        and the mechanic that provided that, is this :

        http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-march-17-2010/in-dodd-we-trust [thedailyshow.com]
        • the american economy suffered a burst bubble from an overheated real estate market in 2008. it might be a long painful recovery

          but if it gets your political inclinations excited to derive deeper portents, have at it

          people trade in the currency that is seen most stable RELATIVELY. some background: as the 2008 crisis began, people began to flee the dollar. then, as the crisis began to ripple across the rest of the world, some places wound up weaker than the usa, and people began to return the dollar. why? not because the dollar was stable, but because the dollar was RELATIVELY stable compared to the problems in many other places, like europe

          currently, the yuan is probably the most stable currency, but china has plenty of exposure to potential problems that could blow up worse than the usa. then the dollar might again be the most RELATIVELY stable currency, or not, or some other currency. i don't know. neither do you

          • by unity100 (970058)
            it wasnt anything related to real estate market. even if the houses that were bought from 600,000 are now valued at 300,000, THEY ARE STILL THERE. they did not vanish.

            mortgage backed securities were inflated, then incorporated into more papers which were inflated up to 60x their value, and then shown to government as financial assets of 61x.

            despite having 1x actual assets, they showed their assets as 61x.

            THEN THEY GOT PERMISSION FROM GOVERNMENT TO LEND MONEY TO PEOPLE 610x OVER THOSE ASSETS, as per
            • by Rakishi (759894)

              By the very definition of the term you cannot loan money you do not have. However you can loan money that you in turn borrowed from someone else. Which can become rather bad when that someone else wants their money back. That's how all finance and banking works. It has worked that way for a long time and works that way everywhere.

            • by AK Marc (707885)
              They didn't magnify their assets. They magnified their risk to magnify their gains. Nowhere did they claim they had assets they didn't. They just "leveraged" assets to multiply the possible gains (and risks) under the false assumption they were "safe." The problem was related to the real estate market in that the leveraged assets were real estate, chosen for that risk because, like you said, the value isn't gone. The problem was that "subprime" loans were made, then fraud was perpetrated by bankers whe
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mveloso (325617)

      In any discussion of revamping the reserve currency, there's only one question that you need to ask:

      Is the entity behind the currency willing to do what it takes to preserve the financial system?

      Money talks, and bullshit walks. Do you think China is going to send billions of Yuan to Europe during a crisis? Fuck no. Their currency doesn't even float because their government is too chickenshit to expose their currency to the real market.

      Russia, Brazil, South Africa, India, China - 4 out of 5 of those countrie

      • by unity100 (970058)

        Money talks, and bullshit walks. Do you think China is going to send billions of Yuan to Europe during a crisis? Fuck no. Their currency doesn't even float because their government is too chickenshit to expose their currency to the real market.

        let me tell you what will happen : china will send yuan to europe, will keep it fixed rate, and everything will work because china is a mega market that is 1.5 billion itself.

        it can easily define what happens with its market alone. the biggest market and the biggest growing potential market in regard to size on the planet, is china.

        what about the euro, anyone, anyone, WHAT ? as of this moment, euro is not only a more stable currency than the nonexistent dollar, but also its backers are stronger than

      • Do you think China is going to send billions of Yuan to Europe during a crisis?

        Well, right now, they would find some happy takers in Ireland, Greece and Portugal . . .

    • "ENTIRE modern financial structure depends on trust. That's that."

      Precisely! Yay! A voice of reason among the mumbling of the crowd.

      As long as the "world economy" continues to rely on what we in the west call "fiat money" -- that is, money that is not backed by anything tangible, and is only "valued" by its relation to the money of other nations -- then the "world economy" will remain on a shaky basis, national economies will be vulnerable to other nations with malicious intent, and national economies will fail.

      Until a genuine monetary standard is put back in place

  • by Gopal.V (532678) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @03:14AM (#35845872) Homepage Journal

    As someone sitting in India, I love this move. Sure my paycheck is going to suffer once they start cashing in all the dollars from their reserves and the rupee strengthens. But as a long term measure this is just absolutely required.

    The dollar jumped to the forefront of all this because (IMHO) they managed to ensure OPEC only sells using dollars. But if Russia, China, Brazil and (hopefully) Iran starts selling things in other currencies, US loses the critical ability to just print out more dollars to pay off their deficits or the bring down the world economy just to get out of jail free. Which is what China's aiming for, I guess. And Manmohan Singh was one of the most famous finance ministers in India, responsible for the economic liberalization of the 90s, I guess he knows what he's doing as well.

    The fall of the dollar is a big deal for the developing world.

    • by jvillain (546827)

      As the value of the Rupee increases importing items like food and fuel will become cheaper. This will decrease your inflation rate. That will mean India can keep interest rates lower helping to drive economic growth.

      On the other had the US is swamped in debt, the great printing press of QE2 is about to to be turned off, the hedge funds are bailing out of Tbills at the same time that the BRIC countries are giving a big thumbs down to the dollar. The US government is intentional trying to deflate the US dolla

    • by smallfries (601545) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @04:36AM (#35846130) Homepage

      The dollar jumped to the forefront of all this because (IMHO) they managed to ensure OPEC only sells using dollars.

      Your opinion is wrong: OPEC sells in dollars because that is the world's reserve currency. America has retained it's dominance this long because everything is denominated in dollars at some level. It doesn't seem to be just your misunderstanding, the second indiatimes link makes the same mistake:

      Reserve currencies are not created by fiat; they emerge from historical forces of trade and investment. The dollar is the world's favourite currency because it is simply the most traded, circulated and accepted currency in the world. Brics or others hoping to supplant the dollar will have to develop large and deep markets, first within their own national economies and then across the world for bonds in those currencies.

      Reserve currencies are created exactly by fiat: this is how the dollar was chosen at Bretton Woods. Everything else is backwards: the dollar is the most traded, circulated and accepted currency in the world precisely because it is the international reserve.

      This move by BRICs does look like the first step towards expanding special drawing rights and replacing the dollar with a weighted basket of currencies.

      • by Arlet (29997)

        Your opinion is wrong: OPEC sells in dollars because that is the world's reserve currency

        And because the major oil future exchange is in the US. A major shift to alternative currencies will only happen when there's a reliable and active futures market in those currencies.

  • Given that Brazil when it revalues their currency switches between "cruzado" and "cruzerio" (and most recently "real", short for "cruzerio real") on an almost clockwork basis, invariably involving a devaluation of 1,000:1 or some other ridiculous figure like that, were they planning on using Cruzados or Cruzerios to exchange, and how many truckloads of whatever they use will it take to make a Rand, Ruble, Yuan, or Rupee?

  • by thephydes (727739) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @04:38AM (#35846140)
    and is a sign of the future I think. The $US has been declining for some time - well the underlying economy has - , and the recent GFC did nothing so stem the tide.
  • by argoff (142580) * on Sunday April 17, 2011 @06:02AM (#35846438)

    You see, in a normal world if I printed up some paper and tried to use it to buy goods and services from you, nobody would take it. But if you tax people in that paper, and you take measures that people owe you debt denominated in that paper, and you start out with a commodity (like gold) and switch it out for certificates of promise, and then paper later on. Then you can force something that's worthless to have value. (Of course, none of this stuff can be done without the force of law to pounce the crap out of people)

    In a way, this is how all fiat money works. But since the US was the world reserve currency, we had the additional ability to print money more recklessly than in other places. That is, and get away with it without causing the US to become a banana republic. I think a lot of other countries are getting fed up with that (if not jealous), which is why the game is coming to an end.

  • Pile of bullshit. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SEE (7681) on Sunday April 17, 2011 @06:11AM (#35846474) Homepage

    Brazil: Only major BRICS trading partner is China. Is major trading partner with US, Japan, Eurozone.
    Russia: Only major BRICS trading partner is China. Is major trading partner with US, Eurozone.
    India: Only major BRICS trading partner is China. Is major trading partner with US, Eurozone.
    China: No BRICS states among its major trading partners. Is major trading partner with US, Japan, Eurozone.
    South Africa: Only major BRICS trading partner is China. Is major trading partner with US, Japan, Eurozone.

    So, the only BRICS that's an important trading partner from the perspective of any of the other BRICS is China, and none of the other BRICS are important trading partners from the Chinese perspective. That means the only BRICS currency of any real importance in inter-BRICS economic activity is the Chinese renminbi.

    And what are the major characteristics of the renminbi? It neither freely floats nor is freely convertible, which means it's unusable as a reserve currency. Further, since the major components of its currency basket are the dollar, euro, and yen, any general move to the renminbi from those currencies would require China to buy them to maintain the "managed float".

    Oh, and the agreement is only about credit and grants, not use in trade, which makes it particularly pointless. None of these countries are major investors in each other, or likely to be anytime soon. Is the Chinese government going to stop building plants in China to start building them in India? Really?

  • This year (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Sunday April 17, 2011 @07:09AM (#35846648)

    but the BRICS by themselves are unlikely to to be able to drive that change.

    However a recent Bloomberg article pointed out that China is now Germany's #1 client, replacing the US which has held that position almost since WW2. Considering that China's growth has "slowed" to a mere 9.7% per year, it won't be long at all before they are the largest economy in the world and we will have to do as China says. Another interesting side note is that all those German imports - precision factory machinery, BMW's and other cars, electronics, etc require energy to run. China's demand for oil is about to explode, at a time where we may be nearing peak oil. This is going to be very, very interesting.

    The other side of the coin is that the US dollar as the world currency reserve means that the US is in a very special situation. The US is the only country in the world that can print US dollars. Every other country needs to trade valuable goods and services to obtain one US dollar with which to purchase commodities. The US can simply print it, and in fact this is what it has been doing for a while now. However the minute the US stops being the world reserve currency the US no longer can print its way to importing vital commodities. It will have to earn them like everyone else. Historical data shows that every country that loses status as the world's reserve currency (recent example, the British Pound pre WW2) undergoes severe economic distress. Americans are in denial of this, but irresponsible monetary policy always has consequences. A big hint is the Euro at 1.44 (as if the Euro were in great shape) and the Canadian dollar at 1.04 - not to mention all the other currencies. People don't want US dollars anymore, thanks to Ben and his buddies.

  • If Brazil borrows from India, it doesn't matter if those bonds are indexed in reals, rupees, renminbi, or Icelandic krona. Brazil can just go to JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, BofA, or any other bank with a derivatives desk and buy some currency swaps [wikipedia.org]. As far as Brazil is concerned the loan is now indexed in dollars. The bank doesn't want to take any risks, so they'll probably go straight to India and sell them the other side of the swap, and India would be more than happy to buy it. The bank now makes a fee without taking any risk, and Brazil and India get the PR boost of using bonds indexed in BRICs currency -- without giving up the relative safety of using dollars.

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