Friday, September 26, 2008

Commodities will Remain U.S. Dollar Denominated - for now!

The fall of the U.S. dollar has generated the question of whether or not it will remain the currency used to price commodities. While that may happen someday, it's probably not going to be something that happens in the near future.

Assuming there'll be a huge $700 billion bailout package passed in the U.S., that could put huge pressure on the U.S. dollar, and who knows if it will hasten the process.

"At some point in history, all empires decline and at some point in history, the U.S. empire will decline," said Ian Morley, director at British-based fund manager Quantum.

"Until that happens, the world reserve currency, the world trading currency and the currency that all commodities are ultimately denominated in, is dollars."

The other obvious problem is what currency would replace it at this time and history, and there's no obvious answer.

Currencies like the yuan, British sterling or the rupee, aren't going to replace the dollar to price commodities, and neither will the euro, which is far too rigid to work.

One possibility would be the yen, which is already being used by some. Iran is using the yen as well as the euro for its oil trading. Some oil companies have been calling to do business with the euro also. But again, its rigidity leaves a lot to be desired and I don't see that being an overall answer.

The other problem for the euro is China would have to completely revamp its export policy toward Europe, something that won't be desirable for them at all.

So while there is definitely the beginning of rumblings to change from dollar-denominated commodities, until a viable alternative is offered we'll see business as usual in that regard.

Again, the process may be speeded up if the bailout package is passed and the dollar continues to take a beating from more fiat money being pumped into the economy.

This will pressure revenue and profit margins for commodity companies and countries, and could bring about the inevitable change quicker.

No comments: