Why a BRICS currency is a flawed idea
Comment of the Day

April 07 2023

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Why a BRICS currency is a flawed idea

This article by Paul McNamara for the FT may be of interest. Here is a section: 

China’s dominance is underlined further by the fact that it is a key trade partner for the commodity exporters, which have industrial cycles that clearly track the ebb and flow of the Chinese credit cycle. And after the attack on Ukraine, China’s financial influence over isolated Russia has risen further.

It is obvious but Chinese strategic interests are not especially aligned with those of the other countries. One of China’s priorities is finding somewhere to park its external surpluses beyond the reach of the US Office of Foreign Assets Control and finding stores of value other than US Treasuries. While none of the other four Brics members can provide liquid assets, they can provide investment opportunities especially in raw materials. As with the Belt and Road Initiative, Chinese authorities prefer to have control in such matters.

Russia and the gulf energy exporters prefer to accumulate “rainy day” sovereign wealth funds away from the US. However, the alternative to the US is not a diversified group of growing countries, but essentially one country — China — with a vast thirst for energy and other raw materials.

So not only are there practical challenges in a common Brics currency. In seeking one to challenge US hegemony in foreign exchange, the non-Chinese members of countries of the group may just increase their dependence on Beijing.

Eoin Treacy's view

During the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, the US took the decision to debase the currency in service to avoiding a depression. Money supply exploded and purchasing power of the dollar collapsed as asset prices leaped higher. Like any major event, there are both positive and negative outcomes. An even more severe economic decline was avoided. The downside was political populism has gained a foothold in many countries and the USA’s creditors became suspicious that they are no longer willing to take the hard decisions necessary to support the value of the currency. 

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