- How the Coming Crash in the Dollar Will Unfold
by Stephen Roach, https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion
The argument that there is no alternative to the U.S. currency makes little sense.
Scorn has long been heaped on those daring to question the supremacy of the U.S. dollar as the world’s dominant reserve currency. I certainly received more than my fair share in reaction to a column I recently wrote for Bloomberg Opinion on the likelihood of a sharp decline in the greenback. The counter-arguments were strong and highly political, basically boiling down to the so-called TINA defense – that when it comes to the dollar, “there is no alternative.”
That argument is very important in one critical sense: The dollar, like any foreign-exchange rate, is a relative price. As such, it encapsulates a broad constellation of a nation’s value proposition — economic, financial, social, and political — as viewed against comparable characterizations of other nations. It follows that shifts in foreign-exchange rates capture changes in these relative comparisons — the U.S. versus Europe, the U.S. versus Japan, the U.S. versus China, and so on.
My forecast that a 35% decline in the value of dollar could well be in the offing is couched in terms of the comparison between the U.S. and the currencies of a broad basket of America’s trading partners. Individual components in this basket are weighted by country-specific trade shares with the U.S. and expressed in real terms to capture shifting inflation differentials. As an economist, I care most about currency-related shifts in international competitiveness. The real effective exchange rate, or REER as calculated monthly by the Bank for International Settlements, is particularly well suited for this task.