• 5 minutes Malaysia's Petronas vs. Sarawak Court Case - Will It End Up In London Courts?
  • 9 minutes Sell out now or hold on?
  • 16 minutes Oil prices going down
  • 26 mins Oil prices going down
  • 6 hours When will oil demand start declining due to EVs?
  • 19 hours Two Koreas Agree To March Together At Asian Games
  • 7 hours Oil and Trade War
  • 9 hours Russia and Saudi Arabia to have a chat on oil during FIFA World Cup - report
  • 11 hours Correlation Between Oil Sweet Spots and Real Estate Hot Spots
  • 9 hours Sell out now or hold on?
  • 6 hours venezuala oil crisis
  • 5 hours Trump Hits China With Tariffs On $50 Billion Of Goods
  • 4 hours What If Canada Had Wind and Not Oilsands?
  • 6 hours Germany Orders Daimler to Recall 774,000 Diesel Cars in Europe
  • 10 hours Malaysia's Petronas vs. Sarawak Court Case - Will It End Up In London Courts?
  • 19 hours Geopolitical and Political Risks make their strong comeback to global oil and gas markets
  • 3 hours The Wonderful U.S. Oil Trade Deficit with Canada
  • 17 hours Trump Renews Attack On OPEC Ahead Of Group's Production Meeting
  • 5 hours After Three Decade Macedonia End Dispute With Greece, new name: the Republic of Northern Macedonia
Alt Text

Venezuela Avoids Default With Critical Payment

It was unclear whether Venezuela’s…

Alt Text

The Aramco IPO: A Geopolitical Game Of Thrones

Saudi Arabia and China have…

Alt Text

Is Russia Poised To Own A Stake In U.S. Oil?

Rosneft could get an interest…

ZeroHedge

ZeroHedge

The leading economics blog online covering financial issues, geopolitics and trading.

More Info

Trending Discussions

China Prepares Death Blow To The Dollar

China Dollar

On March 26 China will finally launch a yuan-dominated oil futures contract. Over the last decade there have been a number of “false-starts,” but this time the contract has gotten approval from China’s State Council.

With that approval, the “petroyuan” will become real and China will set out to challenge the “petrodollar” for dominance. Adam Levinson, managing partner and chief investment officer at hedge fund manager Graticule Asset Management Asia (GAMA), already warned last year that China launching a yuan-denominated oil futures contract will shock those investors who have not been paying attention.

This could be a death blow for an already weakening U.S. dollar, and the rise of the yuan as the dominant world currency.

But this isn’t just some slow, news day “fad” that will fizzle in a few days.

A Warning for Investors Since 2015

Back in 2015, the first of a number of strikes against the petrodollar was dealt by China. Gazprom Neft, the third-largest oil producer in Russia, decided to move away from the dollar and towards the yuan and other Asian currencies.

Iran followed suit the same year, using the yuan with a host of other foreign currencies in trade, including Iranian oil.

During the same year China also developed its Silk Road, while the yuan was beginning to establish more dominance in the European markets.

But the U.S. petrodollar still had a fighting chance in 2015 because China’s oil imports were all over the place. Back then, Nick Cunningham of OilPrice.com wrote

Despite accounting for much of the world’s growth in demand in the 21st Century, China’s oil imports have been all over the map in recent months. In April, China imported 7.4 million barrels per day, a record high and enough to make it the world’s largest oil importer. But a month later, imports plummeted to just 5.5 million barrels per day.

That problem has since gone away, signaling China’s rise to oil dominance…

The Slippery Slope to the Petroyuan Begins Here

The petrodollar is backed by Treasuries, so it can help fuel U.S. deficit spending. Take that away, and the U.S. is in trouble.

It looks like that time has come…

(Click to enlarge)

A death blow that began in 2015 hit again in 2017 when China became the world’s largest consumer of imported crude

Now that China is the world’s leading consumer of oil, Beijing can exert some real leverage over Saudi Arabia to pay for crude in yuan. It’s suspected that this is what’s motivating Chinese officials to make a full-fledged effort to renegotiate their trade deal.

So fast-forward to now, and the final blow to the petrodollar could happen starting on March 26. We hinted at this possibility back in September 2017

With major oil exporters finally having a viable way to circumvent the petrodollar system, the U.S. economy could soon encounter severely troubled waters.

First of all, the dollar’s value depends massively on its use as an oil trade vehicle. When that goes away, we will likely see a strong and steady decline in the dollar’s value. Related: China’s Gas Storage Capacity Can’t Keep Up With Demand Growth

Once the oil markets are upended, the yuan has an opportunity to become the dominant world currency overall. This will further weaken the dollar.

The Petrodollar’s Downfall Could be a Lift for Gold

Amongst all the trouble ahead for the dollar, there are some good news too. The U.S. might have ditched the gold standard in the 1970’s, but with gold making a return to world headlines… we could see a resurgence.

For the first time since our nation abandoned the gold standard decades ago, physical gold is being reintroduced to the global monetary system in a major way. That alone is incredibly good news for gold owners.

A reintroduction of gold to the global economy could result in a notable rise in gold prices. It’s safe to assume exporters are more likely to choose a gold-backed financial instrument over one created out of thin air any day of the week.

Soon after, we could see more and more nations jump on the bandwagon, resulting in a substantial rise in gold prices.

By Zerohedge.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:




Back to homepage

Trending Discussions


Leave a comment
  • MrShugs on March 24 2018 said:
    Why would any Country or actually any thinking person rely on a Communist or dictator Countries and their currency? China and Russia are bad actors and would be more than willing to do harm to any Country to further their Communist views. Western laws and trying to play fair are not in these two Communist Countries interest. Just do a little review of history on these two Countries before you think you have found a bed of roses. No Country is perfect but some much less so.
  • Mamdouh G Salameh on March 24 2018 said:
    In a paper published by the United States Association for Energy Economics on the 24th of June 2015 titled:” Has the Petrodollar Had Its Day” (USAEE Working Paper No:15-216), I said that the petrodollar has had its day and that it will be a matter of time before it becomes redundant with huge repercussions for the US economy and the global Economy.

    On Monday the 26th of March 2018, China will finally launch a yuan-dominated oil futures contract backed by gold. This will mark the most momentous turning point for the US economy and the petrodollar and also for China’s status as an economic superpower.

    Right now, China is the number one exporter on the globe, the largest crude oil importer in the world and also the world’s largest economy with a GDP of $23.57 trillion in 2017 (compared to $19.36 trillion for the US), based on purchasing power parity (PPP).

    Since the early 1970s, the global oil trade has almost entirely been conducted in petrodollars. Moving oil trade out of the petrodollar into the petro-yuan will take initially between $600 billion and $800 billion worth of transactions out of the petrodollar. Maintaining the petrodollar is America’s primary goal. Everything else is secondary.

    The petrodollar system provides at least three immediate benefits to the United States. It increases global demand for US dollars. It also increases global demand for US debt securities and it gives the United States the ability to buy oil with a currency it can print at will. In geopolitical terms, the petrodollar lends vast economic and political power to the United States.

    China hopes to replicate this dynamic. A rising China is eyeing the benefits of having its own currency play a larger role and supplant the petrodollar in global trade. The initial focus of that trade is oil trade.

    The petrodollar is backed by Treasuries, so it can help fuel US deficit spending. Take that away, and the US economy will be in trouble leading to a strong and steady decline in the dollar’s value.

    But it won’t be easy to unseat the petrodollar without the participation of some major oil producers like Russia and Saudi Arabia. Between them Saudi Arabia and Russia account for 26% of global oil production and 25% of oil exports. Russia is already on board along with Iran and Venezuela.

    China is now trying to persuade Saudi Arabia to start accepting the yuan for its crude oil. If the Chinese succeed, other oil exporters could follow suit. For Saudi Arabia, it will find itself between a rock and a hard place – lose the Chinese oil market or spark the ire of Washington.

    The launching of the crude oil benchmark on the Shanghai exchange could mark the beginning of the end of the petrodollar. The United States is not going to take this potential threat lying down.

    The imposition of tariffs on Chinese goods could be the first shot in the petro-yuan/petrodollar war of attrition. President Trump is trying, in my opinion, to provoke a showdown with China in order persuade it not to launch its crude oil futures contract. The United States will be trying to bargain away the tariffs for the withdrawal of the crude oil futures contract. However, China has attached so much prestige to its crude oil futures contract so it is unthinkable it will agree to withdraw it, hence the impending trade war between the two countries and a possible wider conflict beyond that.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London
  • Bill Simpson on March 24 2018 said:
    And the next king of Saudi Arabia is touring the United States, with stops in New York, Seattle, Silicon Valley, and Hollywood, meeting the elite at each stop.
  • Vishwas on March 24 2018 said:
    Strength of a currency not only lies in demand for it but also need to be backed by dependable and transparent monetary system to be a Reserve Currency. Who will believe that China will not manipulate Yuan? Secondly, Chinese economy is fragile as its too much excess capacity makes it dependent on physical exports to high consumption countries like USA and EU. Economic slowdown in China will result into worst social unrest turning Yuan worthless. The risk is too high. Yuan can be truly reserve currency only if China becomes democratic. And its unlikely in the mid-term.
  • Nathan on March 25 2018 said:
    I classify this article as misinformation.

    Of course US oil imports are down compared to China; the US is drilling a ton of oil these days and will soon overtake Russia as the world's top oil producer. Doom and gloom?

    Furthermore, China is not the leading consumer of oil as this article states. They are the leading importer. The US doesn't need to import nearly as much as they used to since they can make it themselves.

    Electric vehicle adoption will also impact the significance of the petrodollar. There are talks of China requiring all new cars to be electric within the next decade. This would have a huge impact on the oil market.
  • Samuel on March 25 2018 said:
    Great news for investors, as China just declared a new emperor (which history tells us always works out), we will stay dominant in global trade.
  • John Brown on March 25 2018 said:
    China’s massive dependence on oil imports gives it oil Dominance? Now there’s a knew concept. The more dependent & vulnerable a country is to imported oil the more dominant it is? What would happen to China’s economy in a conflict if those vulnerable oil lanes were partially or completely shut down, or a war breaks out between Iran & Saudi Arabia? And does Saudi Arabia depend on China or the USA in its growing confrontation w Iran? Meanwhile the USA will soon be the largest producer of oil & gas in the world & a large exporter w those exports paid in dollars. Yet it will also remain one of the largest importers but w foreign supplies available much closer to home than w China & w land transport options & more easily protected sea lanes. China’s oil futures market will be a casino. Good luck w that.
  • Michael Gerard Rousseau on March 26 2018 said:
    Pakistan’s central bank announced that it will be replacing the dollar with the yuan for bilateral trade and investment with China. Expect more of this?—?devaluing of the dollar. Also, Russia is in control of Venezuela now with Maduro being Putin’s puppet of sorts, and is basically in hock to Russia. So, Putin has his thumb under the largest oil reserves in the world. How is he making use of that even with sanctions against Venezuela export of oil? Venezuela released its own cryptocurrency called the Petro. Russia, China and Iran are currently pursuing currency swap agreements to eliminate the US dollar from trade. China has also announced the launch of the petro-yuan to replace the greenback in oil transactions. What this means is, with the advent of cryptos, it represents a fresh catalyst for commodity-producing countries wishing to abandon the dollar as a means of payment for oil. Also expect the price of oil to continue to go up. Russia is now heavily invested in the crypto world while China still mines 85% of Bitcoin. Having crypto’s that are backed by oil reserves, gold, and other resources is the future. What is not the future is the U.S. dollar. China and Russia are slowly squeezing the U.S. out.

    What the rise of Russia in cryptos means is that even with sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the E.U., Russia will have a way to send and receive money. The U.S. Treasury Terrorism and Financial Intelligence unit can put sanctioned individuals on a blacklist that keeps them from doing business in U.S. dollars but since cryptos aren’t controlled by any state, it is easy to bypass any blacklist. But, the bigger picture is how it is challenging the global banking system. Disruption is inevitable, and cryptos could become the new driver of international business and financial transactions, and that will all start with trying to destroy the value of the U.S. dollar in trade relations and by using cryptos backed by oil and other natural resources. The U.S. and the U.S. dollar is on bended knee right now. China and Russia are moving to gold backed currency and each has issued home currency-denominated bonds in each other’s markets which will reduce the volatility of yuan and ruble exchange rates. There is an emergence of an eastern gold standard with natural resource-backed crypto kickers in the making. The U.S. dollar is dying.
  • John Scior on March 26 2018 said:
    I would imagine there is a huge potential downside in that the Government of China attempts to control the exchange rate of the yuan at artificial levels. If say the market values the yuan at an exchange rate higher than that of the government rate, this futures contract market provides traders a mechanism by which they can continually churn futures contracts and force the Government of China to defend its currency , all the while enriching the traders and depleting the Chinese treasury of its US treasuries until equilibrium exists between the market value of the yuan is in balance with the official exchange rate or the traders "break the bank" and China finally allows its currency to float.
  • Brains B4 Emotions on March 27 2018 said:
    From a purely economic perspective, I must agree that the days of the PetroDollar are indeed increasingly numbered now. The Americans over time thought that they would punish Russia & North Korea & Iran one by one by imposing economic sanctions & restrictions in using the American Dollar upon them all. For instance, they banned them from using the SWIFT currency transfer system. These past wrong headed & faulty economic financial decisions are now beginning to come home to roost much to the ultimate detriment of the entire USA & IT'S ECONOMIC SYSTEM STRENGTH! The American LEADERS forgot all about THE LAW OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES however it seems. Thus these four foreign countries have now banded together to dethrone the USA PETRODOLLAR as a direct consequence of & reaction to the faulty USA imposed economic sanctions. The official national adoption of Cryptocurrencies by Venezuela & Russia & I believe ultimately China & others as well at a future date will be just another forward step in this move to dethrone the PetroDollar. The Dollar Index which measures the strength of the greenback buck against foreign currencies, peaked out in 1985 at a valuation of about 130 & has been on a long term decline ever since. It currently trades at about 89 or so. That is not very far off it's historic low of over 70 reached in 2008 during the recession! This despite the rising interest rates by the Fed for the last year purely to defend the value of the USA Dollar. If rising interest rates can not adequately defend the greenback, & there is no other truly valid economic reason to raise interest rates, then there really is truly no hope left for the American currency & the America economy. The Chinese have now launched a GOLD BACKED CRUDE OIL FUTURES contract. This I predict is going to be a real game changer in the intermediate to longer term time frame. When foreign countries decide to ditch their vast American dollar foreign currency reserves holdings, WATCH OUT!!! It will be a catastrophe!!!
  • Kshithij Sharma on March 29 2018 said:
    The Petrodollar was started by USA in 1970s after the Bretton Wood Agreement. The Petrodollar was a successor of Marshal Plan whereby USA leveraged its superior production to supply goods to the world as loans and hence made the world dependent on USA. This in turn made dollar an acceptable currency worldover. Oil being the most important commodity, the oil trade in dollar was key for USA to make its currency the global currency.

    However with growing clout o Chinese manufacturing and China surpassing USA as leading exporter, the Petrodollar is now at threat. However, there is still a few things which give the edge to USA. The USA and its allies are the largest supplier o food to the Arabs which give the USA a massive leverage over Arabs. In addition, the security apparatus of USA due to years of working is very strong across the world. The CIA has lot of clout in the middle east and can shake things up. Also, the arms and infrastructure of middle east depends on the USA.

    Mere manufacturing and export clout of China may be insufficient to make Arabs to switch to Yuan. In addition, the large reserves of dollars with various countries may upset the global order if dollar ceases to be a valuable asset as it is today.

    However, on the flip side, USA has antagonised Iran, Russia and even the Arabs by sanctions and Arab Spring. Russia and Iran may side with China in selling its oil in Yuan as a result.. That will itself cause a shake up of about 18 mbpd production being diverted into Yuan. The export in this will be about 10mbpd.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News