Excellent questions from our readers keep on coming. Here’s one this week asking how a new gold standard might affect New Zealand given we don’t have any gold reserves:
Jim Rickards is predicting that as early as January 2018 Donald Trump will devalue the usd and peg it to gold at $10,000usd. I think Jan 2018 is too early, but you never know..
My question is, if that were to happen, would NZ be able to do the same even when we don’t have any gold reserves?
Thanks very much
We hadn’t seen this specific prediction of Rickards, or at least hadn’t seen the date of January 2018. If we wanted to be cynical, this could be a bit of marketing spin, placing a date in the near future to create a sense of urgency and encourage people to sign up to his subscription newsletter perhaps?
From recall Rickards has more talked about $10,000 being the level gold would need to reach to have anything resembling a gold standard:
“I’m not saying that we will have a gold standard. I’m saying if you have anything like a gold standard, it will be critical to get the price right. To this regard, Paul Volcker said the same thing.”
But anyway, let’s think this through.
If this came to pass the US dollar would be linked to gold at the rate of $10,000 USD per ounce. Here’s how Rickards arrives at this figure:
“That eye-popping sum [$10,000] “is not a made up number,” Rickards insisted. “It is the implied non-deflationary price,” he reasoned. Rickards referred to “M1,” the base money supply printed by the Federal Reserve plus active checking accounts. The value of M1 is derived in large part from the value of gold and represents the day-to-day money supply that people can use to spend.”Global M1 has about 40 percent gold backing. There’s about 35,000 tons of official gold on the world. That comes out to about $10,000 an ounce to use gold to create confidence in the dollar,” explained Rickards. “The dollar price of gold moves around, but gold itself stays constant.”
So the non deflationary price simply means ensuring gold is not linked at too low a price like Churchill did when returning the UK to a gold standard after WWI, causing deflation.
If the US dollar was linked to gold and assuming no other changes to the global monetary system then that is basically a return to the Bretton Woods system of 1944. Where the US dollar was tied to gold and all other currencies were tied to the USD.
Bretton Woods relied upon the USA keeping the dollar “good as gold” – which of course they didn’t.
Indirectly other currencies would therefore have a fixed gold value due to their link to the US dollar.
Under Bretton Woods:
“Other currencies could devalue against the dollar, and therefore against gold, if they received permission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). However, the dollar could not devalue, at least in theory. It was the keystone of the entire system — intended to be permanently anchored to gold.”
The US treasury (supposedly anyway) has around 8000 tonnes of gold, still more than any other individual nation, although China is likely catching up fast.
So if the US dollar were linked to gold, the answer would be no New Zealand couldn’t peg it’s dollar to gold, as unlike the US there is nothing to back this change with. See this article on New Zealand’s lack of gold reserves.
However if this new gold standard followed the Bretton Woods system, then the NZ dollar would be indirectly backed by gold again due to its link to the USD dollar.
But bear in mind that, given the US dollar would have been devalued significantly to link gold at US$10,000 per ounce, the same thing would need to happen to the NZ dollar. At current exchange rates gold in NZ dollars would be revalued to $13,333 per ounce.
Of course, the exchange rate would depend upon how the New Zealand economy was performing compared to the USA, what interest rates were etc. But it would not be if there was a devaluation, but rather how large it would be.
This ‘New Bretton Woods”would of course require the USD remaining the global reserve currency.
We think it seems not particularly likely.
Because the US dollars position on the throne is slowly but surely being eroded. The likes of Russia and China are none too impressed with the USA’s “exorbitant privilege” as the global reserve currency. Seen as effectively being able to print money to pay fund it’s ever growing debts.
Also at Bretton Woods in 1944 the USA had almost all the gold and therefore got to set all the rules. Times are quite different today, with China and Russia having added to their stockpiles in recent years.
The other angle is that this East versus West financial battle is all part of an elaborate facade to move the planet towards a global SDR currency.
In a centrally planned world we would likely end up with a basket of currencies making up the global reserve currency, likely with some gold backing too.
See this article for more on the SDR, China and global monetary system changes: China Joins the SDR Old Boys Club. What’s the Significance?
Our prefered option remains a decentralised free market for money. Where people would decide how they wish to transact with each other.
See this past article for more on what is a very foreign concept for most people.
We don’t know what the future will hold. We don’t know what the monetary system will look like, but odds are that in the next decade it will have undergone some serious change.
There are a lot of technological changes going on currently but the only currency that has stood the test of time for Millenia, will likely still be around and of value (and likely more valuable than today) in 10 years.
So it seems like a good idea to create your own gold (and silver) standard. Become your own central bank and start your own gold (and silver) reserves.