The Biggest Threat To Dollar Dominance

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Russian oil exporters are pressuring Western commodity traders to pay for Russian crude in euros and not dollars as Washington prepares more sanctions for the 2014 annexation of Crimea by Moscow, Reuters reported last week, citing as many as seven industry sources.

While it may have come as a surprise to the traders, who, Reuters said, were not too happy about it, the Russian companies’ move was to be expected as the Trump administration pursues a foreign policy where sanctions feature prominently. This approach, however, could undermine the dominance of the U.S. dollar as the global oil trade currency. Continue reading

China Is Beating the US in the Rare-Earths Game

For more information regarding China and the rare earths situation, see the following previous articles:

 

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It’s time for the administration to use its powers to preserve America’s access to vital defense materials.

How to view China’s recent threat to limit domestic production of rare earths, those 16 elements that make our cellphones and smart bombs work? It’s the latest move in a game that began before the United States realized it was even playing, that has grown more complex than U.S. leaders realize, and that is nearing a very unfortunate ending. Continue reading

US sanctions: SWIFT network suspends Iran banks

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The SWIFT banking network, the backbone for international monetary transfers, said Monday it has suspended several Iranian banks from its service, after the United States reimposed nuclear sanctions on Tehran.

“In keeping with our mission of supporting the resilience and integrity of the global financial system as a global and neutral service provider, SWIFT is suspending certain Iranian banks’ access to the messaging system,” it said. Continue reading

Iran president warns of ‘war situation’ as sanctions resume

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US President Donald Trump, left, on July 22, 2018, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on February 6, 2018. (AP Photo)

 

Rouhani vows defiantly that ‘Iran is able to sell its oil and it will sell,’ rejects prospect of mediation with Washington

Iran greeted the re-imposition of US sanctions on Monday with air defense drills and an acknowledgement from President Hassan Rouhani that the nation faces a “war situation,” raising Mideast tensions as America’s maximalist approach to the Islamic Republic takes hold.

The sanctions end all the economic benefits America granted Tehran under its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, though Iran for now continues to abide by the accord that saw it limit its enrichment of uranium. While for now not threatening to resume higher enrichment, Iranian officials in recent months have made a point to threaten that could resume at any time faster than before. Continue reading

A Transmission Belt of German Supremacy

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ROME/BERLIN (Own report) – German politicians and media are intensifying pressure on Rome in anticipation of today’s EU Commission verdict on Italy’s national budget. Already last week, EU Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger announced, in reference to the Italian deficit, that the Italian government must “correct” its draft budget. Media reports refer to a “black week” for Rome. Negative reporting – like rating agencies’ devaluation of Italy’s creditworthiness – can contribute to the destabilization of Italy’s financial and credit markets. The country’s current downward spiral threatens to re-escalate the banking crisis. Whereas Berlin insists that the EU take sharp measures against deficits, Germany’s Finance Minister at the time, Wolfgang Schäuble had prevented the EU Commission from taking measures against excessive surpluses, which the commission sees as potentially just as destabilizing. Germany has been achieving these surpluses year after year.

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US Is Negotiating With SWIFT To Disconnect Iran From Network

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that unlike Obama’s 2013 Iran blockade, it would be harder for countries to get waivers on Iran oil sanctions as the US is already working on disconnecting Iran from the SWIFT network and dismissed concerns that oil prices could rise, saying the market had already factored in the output losses.

Speaking in an interview with Reuters in Jerusalem on Sunday at the start of a Middle East trip, Mnuchin said countries would have to reduce their purchases of Iranian oil by more than the roughly 20% level they did from 2013 to 2015 to get waivers. “I would expect that if we do give waivers it will be significantly larger reductions,” said the US Treasury Secretary. Continue reading

Russia And China Prepare To Ditch Dollar In Bilateral Trade

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In a time when many nations have gone public with their intention to ditch the dollar in part or in whole, in bilateral trade with non-US counterparts, either to prevent the US from having “veto power” of commerce courtesy of SWIFT or simply in response to Trump’s “America First” doctrine, attention has long focused on Russia and China – the two natural adversaries to the US – to see if and when they would accelerate plans for de-dollarization. Continue reading

Russian Share In U.S. Debt Is Getting Close To Zero

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Grigory Dukor. IMAGE: Reuters

 

Russian investments in US securities as of August 2018 have fallen to just $14 billion from $180 billion back in 2011. From one of the top holders of the US debt, Moscow became the 54th largest holder. Continue reading

China To Unveil Next-Generation Stealth Bomber In 2019

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Last week, the Global Times confirmed that the Hong-20, China’s newest long-range stealth bomber was ready for imminent trial flights.

Now, it seems Chinese media, as per Defense Blog, has indicated that the stealth bomber will be unveiled during a massive military parade in 2019.

While there is no official statement or confirmation from the Chinese government or military, the unveiling is expected to occurring during a period where JPMorgan expects a full-blown trade war between the US and China.  Continue reading

Venezuela Ditches US Dollar, Will Use Euros For International Trade

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Venezuela has just taken the next step in its quest to “free” itself from the tyranny of US dollar hegemony. One year after the country said it would stop accepting US dollars as payment for its (ever shrinking) oil exports (saying the country’s state-run oil company would accept payment in yuan instead), Venezuelan Vice President for Economy Tareck El Aissami said Tuesday that Venezuela will officially purge the dollar from its exchange market in favor of euros. Continue reading

An end to the dollar’s global hegemony? The Kremlin sees an opportunity.

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An exchange-office screen on a Moscow street shows the currency exchange rate of the Russian ruble and US dollar in April. The Kremlin has begun making moves to insulate the Russian economy from escalating US sanctions. (Pavel Golovkin/AP)

 

The dollar has long been the world’s reserve currency. But some countries, angered by sanctions, are challenging that status, potentially undermining one of the US’s most influential tools for shaping global policy.

For average Russians, a small personal hoard of US dollars has always represented a place of safety amid the wild ups-and-downs that continue to beset the country’s national currency, the ruble.

So it triggered a touch of panic among them when the Russian government confirmed long-standing rumors that it is working on a plan to insulate the economy from escalating US sanctions through “de-dollarization.” Continue reading

Europe Launches War On Italy’s Fiscal Plans: Warns Of Debt “Explosion”, Threatens Savers

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In the aftermath of Italy’s defiant announcement that it would expand its 2019 budget deficit to 2.4% of GDP, above both the initial proposal from finmin Tria which was 1.6%, and also higher than the European “redline” of 2.0%, the question was how would Europe respond to this open mutiny by Italy.

The answers started to emerge on Friday, when European Parliament head Antonio Tajani said that fiscal targets set by Italy’s eurosceptic government were “against the people” and could hit savers without creating jobs.

“I am very concerned for what is happening in Italy,” said Tajani, who is a center-right opposition politician in Italy and close ally to former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The budgetary plans “will not raise employment but will cause trouble to the savings of the Italians,” Tajani said. Continue reading

British govt report suggests US is currently winning trade war with China

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China has already declared its intent to retaliate against US President Donald Trump’s new tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports, a move set to raise prices on consumer goods for both countries.

Several analysts have demonstrated how Trump’s tariffs will blowback on the US economy. Moody’s Investment Service previously warned that the tariffs would reduce US GDP by 0.25 percent in 2019, to about 2.3 percent. The American economy could take an even bigger hit if Trump proceeds with tariffs on $200 bn worth of Chinese products, Moody’s warned. Continue reading

‘New Cold War’ Developing Between U.S., China

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(Photo Credit: Air Force Master Sgt. Jerry Morrison)

 

Beijing is digging in for a ‘war of attrition’ that won’t end anytime soon.

With trade tensions growing between Washington and Beijing, and the military tensions building in the South China Sea, observers are noting that a “new Cold War” is brewing between the U.S. and China. Continue reading

U.S. Looks To Find Alternatives To Iranian Oil For Allies

 

The United States—which is pushing to have all Iranian oil customers stop importing crude from Tehran—is looking for alternative oil supplies for its allies whose imports will be disrupted by the U.S. sanctions on Iran, the Financial Times reported on Thursday, citing a senior U.S. administration  official. Continue reading