By: William Robert Barber
To mimic the infamous charge of The Light Brigand; opinion to the left; opinions to right; damn the consequences to the front, onward into the breech sways the weak dollar onto the world’s economy. Upon even cursory observation the average layperson surely understands that goods and services purchased by conversion from dollars to euro, yen, pound, or a number of global currencies (at the current exchange rate) is an expensive endeavor. Conversely, goods, services, commodities, real estate, equities, bonds, and other such cause for purchase items are priced reasonably (even at a bargain) for those converting their particular domestic currency to the globally weak dollars.
The benefit to the dollar holder within the economies of world trade emphasizes the tangible competitiveness of United States production; because the weak dollar is sharply facilitating the pricing marketability of its goods thus rendering solid profits for such goods in the world’s marketplace. The weak dollar has increased prices for US exported goods to foreign destinations while at the same instance inventories of foreign goods remain in abundance thereby offering the US consumer viable purchase options. US citizens have curtailed or limited foreign travel; for the American’s their cash has better value within their own country. Thus, American business in every industry is benefiting from this current pricing of the dollar within the world-wide economy.
The value of the dollar has been measured and recorded historically against other notable tender for a considerable period of time. It is that very tradition of measurement that in fact stresses with concerning degree the attention of the world’s economist, financial pundits, and speculative traders. For example since 2002 the dollar has dropped 38 percent against the euro, 23 percent against the yen and 25 percent against the Canadian dollar; and most professional harbingers suggest a continuance of same.
The worst-case scenario for the USA because of weak dollar and the continuance of debt service is that foreign central banks prompted by a non-aligned confederation of investors might simply sell all their dollar holding investments; as a result, America will spin into a recession and finally the world into a depression. To that silly procrastination I say without any hesitation: Balderdash!
In 2004, the U.S current-account deficit is estimated to have reached $650 billion or a record 6.5 percent of the nation’s economy. The United States inhales the world’s products and is insatiable in its consumption. The U.S. consumer is the clear beneficiary of these transactions identified as the current-account deficit. U.S. consumers demand and receive from international importation the finest most technologically advanced products at the very best prices. No other country enjoys the depth, distribution, diversity, and depth of inventory of such products than the U.S. consumer.
Foreign businesses, with the earning from selling their products to U.S. consumers, have purchased within the last recorded year $1.8 trillion of corporate bonds and $1.5 trillion of stocks; the crutch of the naysayer persuasion is that these very investors of U.S. equities and bonds could sell their interest in favor of their own national investments and to the abrupt detriment of the dollar. Well, lets analysis this possibility; if one is to sell into the market the price will immediately drop and continue to drop until there are no buyers on the other side of the needed to sell equation. So the doomsayers with their foreign sell off scenario has run right into the wall of sensibility; if a seller wants to hold value and still sell, that seller can not run the market into a sell off; plus, one needs to consider SEC restrictions on the practicality of exactly that, stocks held by restricted persons such as principles, board members, etc. In contras of course to equities, certainly, when holding federal or state sponsored debt instead of accepting the interest one could at term or at a discount to cash paid in liquidate the principle in favor of another investment offering more security or finding the same risk ratio but one that pays an enhanced premium. But than, national debt instruments must always compete in the marketplace it is in such competition that pricing is achieved. It is not reasonable to equate the largest consumer nation in the world as the nation not to purchase debt instruments from—it is illogical. Factually, the financial logic is quite the opposite of the proposed sell off. However the cleanest reason to discount this massive sell off doomsday theory is that those benefiting (the foreign business investors directly profiting from sales to U.S. consumers) the very most from selling into the U.S. economy would be the ones who would contrive to destroy the golden goose. Such a possibility is simply naïve; a contrivance without factual believability, surely, every party and counter party to a trade transaction understands that the result is about the money; mutual satisfaction is a continuum, the very ethos of future dealings, the result must be a win-win for all.
Note that when forming the general information, specific statistics, and endless financially admitted contrivances that content the formula of current-account deficits; foreign investments into the U.S. corporate equities, bonds, real estate, or closely held private entities are totally absent from the compilation. These vestments of cash infusion into the American economy are not considered as a counter weight to the current-account deficit; it is as if to suggest that transactions wherein the foreigners cash-in to U.S. Treasury Notes or that other such purchases represent a non-purchase of American goods or services. Yes, the USA may not have sold them more cars, planes, or shoes than we purchased from them but we do sell them the right to take trillions of dollars of U.S. corporate risk at a substantial profit for both the buyer and the seller. We willingly allow foreigners to invest in our infrastructure, real estate, debt as long as they pay all the appropriate taxes; and they (these foreigners) cheerfully submit to the opportunity.
Those who concern themselves with the evaluating of the current-account deficit stated by today’s generally accepted standard of measurement actually want Americans to purchase less imported goods; the discipline required to reach this goal is by consuming less and to export more. Ridicules! The American consumer pays less for more because our purchasing power demands a competitive price. But more importantly, from a percentage of profit on volume, we Americans make more money from imported goods than the importers make on the original sale to us. The plurality of disperse on profit taking is extensive and varied. Not only does the wholesaler retailer mark up their goods to pay U.S. employees, support payroll taxes, social security, local, state, and federal levies but America also benefits from financing fees, insurance requirements, spare parts sales and the labor services that accompany. Without these importers and their market priced products a whole profitable industry would be severely disabled. It is absolute nonsense that the sellers control the market everybody who have ventured into business recognizes the power of the transaction rests with the willing buyer.
Many suggest that American manufacturers suffer the consequence of imported goods and thus can no longer profitably function; the natural law of nature is in unison with the law of the marketplace–adapt or die. So American industry has adapted to the present demands of the global market; they have diversified their investments and moved (manufacturing plants) what was sensible to Mexico, China, Europe, Africa, and South America. This is not a new phenomenon indeed this diversification of investments has been going on for thousands of years. American banks are every where in the world; IBM, Xerox, Procter & Gamble, General Mills, Gillette, truly hundreds of brand name American companies are posted though out the world. When these companies are domiciled in France they are counted as part of the French GNP; when in Spain as a Spanish company, in England as English; but they are American companies benefiting directly to and from the populous therein stationed. These American inspired companies sell into the American market; their equity ownership is sold via the stock market to American shareholders, as well as, all the peoples of the world who care to invest. Everyone can make a buck or two or loose a buck or two all on needs to do is risk their cash; the marketplace has no other requirements.
I do not believe anyone measures the current-account deficit between New York and California; surely, these states trade amongst themselves but no one is concerned about the difference. The global economy in my view is similar. What matters to the seller is that there is a willing buyer. What matters to the buyer is price, delivery, warrantees, and tangible or intangible enhancement as a result of the exchange. America is the largest single consumer nation that has ever existed. America is also the most powerful military machine ever recorded; fit that fact into the mix as one contemplates the world and it economic vitality. America protects world trade from any mean spirited or ill intentioned adversary and it is the U.S. consumer that pays for that intrinsically important cost. Since WW II the United States have stationed it military forces around the world; these bases have positively added to the economies of Germany, Japan, Korea, Panama, England, Spain, Italy, and on and on and on yet there is no tax levied on these countries. These bases and their distribution network of security allowed major countries to develop an economy that sells it goods for a profit to the very protector. This has been and is today a tremendous platform of mutual benefit to those who export and for the USA the omnipotent importer.
The world depends on America…there is no economic downside to a weak U.S. Dollar. The only true economic downside with horrific consequences is a weak America; an America that looses its will to prevail against all contesters; an America that ceases to believe that all things are possible; an America that submits to compromise in place of uncompromising ideals or an America that is no longer willing to shed its blood for what it knows is right; if the world looses these described downsides that represent the essential ethos of American cultural values than all is lost.
However, there is a constant persistence by those in the ‘know’; those who are obviously cognizant of ‘all things relevant’, the self appointed custodians of the seemingly easy to accept certain maxims of financial design that feed rather flowingly into the content of the naysayer primary concern. The media is particularly passionate regarding the apocalyptic possibilities of the mounting U.S. current-account deficit Pundits besiege talk shows both in television and radio with baseless predilection of pending financial doom. These special persons, scripted and by impulse, in political concert with and acting by unilateral political nonalignment all concur on date uncertain that one currency is valued higher or lower than another; such evaluation of value is decided at one moment in time over another moment in time; governments in unison or not, by design or by fault, feed into the pricing of currency by varied tangible and intangible means. Every participating entity is an amoral provocateur in the insincere persuasion of currency speculation; each seeks an advantage over the other, each practice a multitude of strategies and tactics, some are defensive, some offensive, often they faint a move to the right while moving to the left, this utilization of heaven and earth resources are dedicated to one end. The goal is to receive more for less without ceding the position of minimal risk awhile profiting by the largest margin that the marketplace allows. Despite the goal stated above, all reason acknowledges that mutual satisfaction is a requirement between buyer and seller as in importer to exporter. Consequently, respective of any and all prevailing nonsense perpetuated by the naysayer predictor of cataclysmic possibilities trade results are founded on mutual satisfaction; such a result is reasonable, and reason will always in the long run of international trade always win.
The current circumstance of a weak dollar and a huge imbalance of trade between America and its importers is a result of inaccurate computation wherein the purchasing of US securities, infrastructure, and debt is not a within the designed formula that form the net number sum for current account balance. It is as simple as that. The USA enjoys in fact a trade surplus not a trade deficit.