O tem je v zadnjih tednih veliko špekulacij, predvsem kot posledice sankcij proti ruski centralni banki in njenim poslovnim bankam ter posledični navezavi ruske centralne banke na kitajsko. No, mednarodni finančniki se ne strinjajo s to trditvijo. Pravijo, da sta svet financ in globalni kreditni sistem preveč prežeta s transakcijami in imetji v dolarjih. Nasprotno pa se Barry Eichengreen iz univerze Berkeley, sicer najboljši zgodovinar s področja mednarodnih financ, s tem ne strinja. Njegove analize kažejo, da lahko več valut koeksistira kot svetovne rezervne valute, da je zadnjih 70 let prevlada dolarja bila anomalija v evoluciji in da se pomen dolarja postopno zmanjšuje. Od leta 2000 se je delež dolarja v globalnih rezervah zmanjšal iz 70 na 59%.
Toda bo ukrajinska kriza pospešila de-dolarizacijo in privedla do vzpona kitajskega juana kot pomembne rezervne valute? Eichengreen dvomi, da se bo to zgodilo. Pravi, da je nezaupanje v avtoritarno oblast na Kitajskem v globalnem finančnem svetu preveliko, hkrati pa obstaja strah pred sankcijami, kar zmanjšuje možnost hitrejše tranzicije k juanu. Spodaj je dober povzetek razprave, ki ga je naredil (moj drugi najljubši) ekonomski zgodovinar Adam Tooze.
I like the historicized approach to modeling the global currency system. It is easy to agree that the situation after 1945 was profoundly anomalous. Indeed, recognizing this point marks an important evolution in Eichengreen’s own thinking about financial hegemony.
Since the 1970s the dominance of the dollar has been maintained by scrambling improvisation. And in recent decades the euro has emerged as an alternative. I sketched a possible historical narrative along these lines in a piece for Foreign Policy back in January 2021.
But, as the current crisis illustrates, a diversification out of dollars into euros has turned out, as far as Russia is concerned, to be a difference that does not make a difference. Russia finds itself in what amounts to a euro-dollar trap – a triangle consisting of dollars, offshore euro-dollars and euros. It is this triangle of currencies that dominates the North Atlantic and East Asian financial hubs. It is subtended by dollar swap lines in unlimited amounts and is buttressed by a similar expansive monetary relationship with Japan.
Eichengreen’s most recent FT piece is based, as ever, on original historical research, this time in collaboration with Serkan Arslanalp and Chima Simpson-Bell. Their paper, “The Stealth Erosion of Dollar Dominance: Active Diversifiers and the Rise of Nontraditional Reserve Currencies” was published by the IMF.
As they summarize their results in their abstract:
We document a decline in the dollar share of international reserves since the turn of the century. This decline reflects active portfolio diversification by central bank reserve managers; it is not a byproduct of changes in exchange rates and interest rates, of reserve accumulation by a small handful of central banks with large and distinctive balance sheets, or of changes in coverage of surveys of reserve composition. Strikingly, the decline in the dollar’s share has not been accompanied by an increase in the shares of the pound sterling, yen and euro, other long-standing reserve currencies and units that, along with the dollar, have historically comprised the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights. Rather, the shift out of dollars has been in two directions: a quarter into the Chinese renminbi,and three quarters into the currencies of smaller countries that have played a more limited role as reserve currencies. A characterization of the evolution of the international reserve system in the last 20 years is thus as gradual movement away from the dollar, a recent if still modest rise in the role of the renminbi, and changes in market liquidity, relative returns and reserve management enhancing the attractions of nontraditional reserve currencies. These observations provide hints of how the international system may evolve going forward.
Now this is an interesting observation. And in the context of the debate about the financial sanctions on Russia is is likely to attract much attention as evidence for a shift away from the dollar.
In technical financial terms that is clearly true. Reserve managers are diversifying. But does this shift indicate a shifting balance of power in the global financial system, to the detriment of the dollar and the US authorities? That seems more than debatable.
All of the non-traditional currencies that Eichengreen and his co-authors identify are very much part of America’s extended financial security system. They are all recipients of swap lines. If it came to the crunch in a confrontation with Russia or China who would doubt which side they would be on? Rather than seeing them as rivals or substitutes to the core dollar system is it not plausible to see them as extended buttresses of that system, providing options for diversification whilst continuing to benefit from the liquidity and sophistication provided by America’s financial markets.
As far as the renminbi is concerned, the conclusions reached by Eichengreen and his colleagues is in fact downbeat. As Eichengreen puts it in the FT.
What about faster diversification towards the renminbi? Anyone contemplating moving reserves in that direction will have to consider the possibility that China could become subject to secondary sanctions. Moreover, Putin’s actions are a reminder that authoritarian strongmen can act capriciously when there are few domestic counterweights to restrain them. That President Xi Jinping has shown little inclination to interfere in the operations of the People’s Bank of China is no guarantee that he will maintain that stance in the future. It is no coincidence that every leading reserve-currency issuer in history has had a republican or democratic form of government, with checks on executive power. Russia’s reserve managers have no choice but to turn to the PBoC so long as it continues to grant them access. But for other central banks, an ironic result of the US decision to weaponise the dollar may actually be to slow international take-up of the renminbi.
Vir: Adam Tooze