China says it is continuing to buy US bonds “every day.” It doesn’t have much choice. It earns money by selling things abroad. In fact, exports in February were up more than 40% over February ’09. This leaves it with a lot of foreign money – most of it in dollars. What can it do with so much money?
China has quietly bought stakes in America’s leading companies…and in various businesses all over the world. But the only way large amounts of US dollar cash can be readily and safely deployed is in US bonds.
That said, China could also cause one helluva problem for the US if it ever chose to do anything else.
No worries on that score, said the Chinese official in charge of its $2.4 trillion worth of foreign reserves. He says China’s holdings of US debt are normal and that there is no intention of reducing them or playing politics with them.
He surely means it. And when the dollar goes down…and when the market turns, and China feels compelled to get rid of its US bonds, he’ll be totally sincere when he explains that to the international financial press too.
Markets make opinions, as they say on Wall Street. The market in bonds and the dollar has been very good for a very long time – since 1983, to be exact. As a result nearly everyone – including the Chinese – are of the opinion that US bonds are a safe place to be. When the market changes, so will opinions.
So far, no problem. But there’s no telling how long the foreigners will continue to support the dollar. Then what? Well…it leaves quantitative easing…in which the US central bank lends the money itself. Where does it get the money? It just invents it.
Which is why you can’t trust paper money. You have a dollar. You have it. You hold it. And you expect to keep it ’til death do you part. But then, along comes another dollar that looks just like it…fresh…young…full of vim and vigor. So why not? Everybody does it.
Pretty soon, there are a lot more dollars running around. And they change hands fast. In economists’ lingo, the velocity of money goes up…and the value of the dollar – like a faithless lover – goes down.
for The Daily Reckoning
Since founding Agora Inc. in 1979, Bill Bonner has found success in numerous industries. His unique writing style, philanthropic undertakings and preservationist activities have been recognized by some of America's most respected authorities. With his friend and colleague Addison Wiggin, he co-founded The Daily Reckoning in 1999, and together they co-wrote the New York Times best-selling books Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. His other works include Mobs, Messiahs and Markets (with Lila Rajiva), Dice Have No Memory, and most recently, Hormegeddon: How Too Much of a Good Thing Leads to Disaster. His most recent project is The Bill Bonner Letter.
Oh and those lovely new dollars just make you want more and more of them until you start drooling over the size of the stimulas and then the public catches on that there is so much easy money floating around and that old dollar that you used to hold so dear becomes jealous and doesn’t give you the same thrills as it once did. Then people start drawing parallels with Tiger Woods since no one really cares about Bretton Woods anymore. Um, i wonder if i can get my social security paid out in Yuan.?
What’s a China with 2.4 trillion in foreign reserve to do? Of course they are going to talk up their biggest cash investment. Talk is cheap, I’d keep my eye on whether they reinvest it short or long term treasuries or elsewhere.
I’d keep my eye on their foreign purchases of resources either direct purchase of commodities and/or foreign ownership of resource mining operations. I’d keep my eye on their accumulation of precious metals and oil. No one grows like China without bumps in the road, but they seem like they have learned a thing or two from other countries mistakes while they are on the upswing. In this country we are repeating the mistakes that all through time have failed. The ego.
The USA needs right now a strong president.
One that passes bill with or without consent.
Why is it that american people don’t understand that a few bearded guy running ammok the desert is not as dangerous as a group of lobbyist walking quietly into congress men’s offices to lobby for their paycheck.
If Obama can’t put this country back on track, then I think it’s time for the world to stop being delisional about the USA and start short-selling it.
in 10 years this country went from being a model to follow to a slump.I think the worst problem is the overconfidence of the American people.Maybe an occupation by a foreign country wouldn’t be too bad after all, it worked for France, for Germany, for Japan, for Korea…
The Chinese government’s $2.4 trillion worth of foreign reserves basically is savings from small and big Chinese business’s export earnings and they are temporarily deposited into their local banks waiting for other uses or investment opportunities. For these banks to make some money with the deposits, it is put into US treasury notes and bonds, etc. But once the Chinese depositors lost faith with the US investment, wouldn’t they withdraw and cash them out and invest the fund on other more secured instrument. My point is the fund does not belong to the government since it does not earned it. Am I wrong??
Pingback: bcHGc6SoQZ bcHGc6SoQZ()
Companies go public to rake in a few billion dollars for themselves and the underwriters. And the suckers-- sorry, investors who gobble up shares when these things come out-- usually end up losers. The stock sinks once the initial euphoria wears off. Then it levels off at a much lower price before maybe rising at a normal pace again.
A money illusion sounds like something a prestidigitator performs by pulling $100 bills from a hat shown to be empty moments before. In fact, money illusion is a longstanding concept in economics that has enormous significance for you if you’re a saver, investor or entrepreneur. Jim Rickards explains...
Traders bid up oil prices this week, based on reports of major escalation of hostilities in Yemen, just south of Saudi Arabia. It’s part of Iran’s long-term strategy to surround the Saudis. Which is why Byron says the Saudis’ primary motivation in crashing oil prices last November was to weaken Iran...
Traders bid up oil prices last week, based on reports of major escalation of hostilities in Yemen, just south of Saudi Arabia. Byron King updates his "Oil War" thesis as Yemen burns and as Saudi Arabia continues to be surrounded by opposition. Read on...
Wolf Richter updates the latest wave of defaults and bankruptcies in the energy sector. As you'll see, even Janet Yellen saw this coming...
Just look at retail stocks. The S&P Retail Index has surged higher by more than 23% over the past six months. And even after a slow start in January, the index is up nearly 6% year-to-date. That blows away the S&P...