China recently announced they will trade oil for yuan ‘backed’ by gold. The story has gotten some press (none of it mainstream mind you), and many have questions as to what it really means. While quite complicated as a whole, when you break this down into pieces I believe it is a quite simple and logical end to Bretton Woods.
For a background, China has had an exchange open for about a year where gold can be purchased with yuan, though the volumes so far have been miniscule to this point. China has also been all over the world inking trade deals (in yuan) and investing in all sorts of resources from oil to gold to grains, they have made no secret about this. With the most recent example here. They have trade arrangements and treaties with Russia, Iran and many other non Western nations. They have also ‘courted’ many Western nations privately (remember their meeting with the King of Saudi Arabia?) and actually lured many with their ‘Silk Road’ plans via the AIIB which was huge news last year (but nearly forgotten by Americans at this point?). We also know China has been a huge importer of gold for the last 4-5 years and done so publicly via Shanghai receipts and deliveries.
So what exactly does ‘oil for yuan’ mean? In my opinion, China is basically leading a ‘mutiny FOR the bounty’ (we’ll explain this shortly). The only things holding the dollar up from outright death for many years has been the oil trade (and other trade commerce) between nations and settled in dollars. Anyone wanting to buy oil had to first buy dollars in order to pay for the trade. Anyone getting out of step and suggesting they would accept currency other than dollars was dealt with swiftly and harshly (think Saddam and Mohamar). In other words, the U. S. military ‘enforced’ the deal Henry Kissinger made with the Middle East (lead by Saudi Arabia) where ALL oil was settled in dollars. International trade settlement alone supported the dollar after the Nixon administration defaulted on its promise to exchange one ounce of gold for $35.
This post was published at JSMineSet on September 6th, 2017.