Tag Archives: SDR

Gold: A Rival for the Dollar

     Robert Zoellick put a few sentences about gold toward the end of a column in today’s FT that are drawing a lot of attention.   I doubt very much if the World Bank President has in mind a return to the gold standard, but goldbugs and critics alike are talking as if he does.

      Even if one placed overwhelming weight on the objective of price stability — enough weight to contemplate a rigid straightjacket for monetary policy — gold would not be a suitable anchor.   The economy would be hostage to the vagaries of the world gold market, as it was in the 19th century:   suffering inflation during periods of gold discoveries and deflation during periods of gold drought.   This is well-known.   I am confident Zoellick understands it.   (He and I were in the same macroeconomics seminar at Swarthmore College in the 1970s.)

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The Dollar Share in Central Banks’ FX Reserves Resumes its Decline

          Numbers newly reported from the IMF’s COFER data base show that in the most recent quarter, the spring of 2009, the share of central banks’ foreign exchange reserve holdings that they allocate to dollars resumed its downward trend.   The dollar share has been gradually sliding since the beginning of the decade – perhaps because of the birth of a possible rival, the euro, in 1999, or perhaps because of the long-term path of tremendous fiscal and monetary expansion on which the United States embarked in 2001.   

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What’s “Hot” and What’s Not, in International Money

The field of International Monetary Economics is not without its own cycles and fads.

In a speech at the European Central Bank over the summer, “On Global Currencies,” I identified eight concepts that I saw as having recently “peaked” and eight more that I saw as newly rising in relevance. Those that I viewed as losing traction were: the G-7, global savings glut, corners hypothesis, proliferating currency unions, inflation targeting (narrowly defined), exorbitant privilege, Bretton Woods II, and currency manipulation. Those that I saw as receiving increased emphasis now and in the future were: the G-20, the IMF, SDR, credit cycle, reserves, intermediate exchange rate regimes, commodity currencies, and multiple international currency system.

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