Washington, China, and the Rise of the Renminbi: Are the Dollar’s Days as the Global Reserve Currency Numbered?

Abstract

The U.S. dollar has dominated the international monetary system since the end of World War II. While the U.S. economy has generated weak growth since 2009, and accumulated a large sovereign debt, the dollar’s status as an international medium of exchange and reserve currency has not diminished. The Chinese renminbi (RMB), however, barely visible in international trade or financial flows just three years ago, appears to be blossoming. China is now the world’s largest trading nation, and more corporations, particularly in Asia, are beginning to invoice their business in RMB. The Chinese regime is calling for a reform of the international monetary system to expand the internationalization of the RMB. Speculation has begun about whether the U.S. dollar could be supplanted by the RMB. Such a development would jeopardize the enormous economic advantages that the U.S. has enjoyed by possessing the world’s dominant currency. Moreover, it would signal a relative decline in American prestige and global leadership. The answer to the dollar’s potential decline is not to seek obstacles to China’s or any other nation’s economic success, but to change fiscal and monetary policies at home in order to maintain the dollar’s competitiveness.The U.S. dollar has dominated the international monetary system for approximately 70 years. While the U.S. economy has generated weak growth over the past six years and accumulated a large sovereign debt, the dollar’s status as an international medium of exchange and reserve currency (currency held by foreign central banks) has defied the odds and has not diminished. Continue reading