The last 12 months have been highlighted by important and historical financial events.
We have had the dramatic and unexpected slide in the price of crude oil. Crude prices of more than $100 per barrel aren't in the cards for the near future.
Meanwhile, we must consider movements in foreign-exchange (FX) reserves. In the IMF’s Currency Composition of Official Foreign Exchange Reserves (COFER) data,
we saw developing and emerging nations had $8.08 trillion foreign exchange reserves on their books.
These reserves stood at only $801 billion at the end of 2001.
These numbers are really impressive, especially amid the currency wars of the last 12 years.
For example, China accumulated $3.67 trillion FX reserves between the end of 2011 and the end of last month.
Reserve accumulation by China will never be the same again. The groundwork for this was established last year at China’s “third plenum,” the Chinese Communist Party’s once-a-decade economic planning forum.
PBOC Governor Zhou Xiaochuan had said: “We will increase the role of market exchange rates, and the central bank will basically exit from normal foreign-exchange market intervention …” which means the era of China’s enormous accumulation of FX reserves is over.
And it didn’t take all that long before China’s currency reserves started declining.
During the third quarter, the reserves declined by $103.2 billion, the largest quarterly decline on record and almost equal to China’s total reserves it had at the end of 1996.
And the PBOC has been gradually withdrawing from routine forex market intervention.
When we put all that together, this becomes extremely important. We shouldn’t forget the diversification of foreign exchange reserves has played an enormous role in maintaining currencies like the euro, the Australian dollar, the Canadian dollar, etc. at substantially higher levels against the U.S. dollar than otherwise might have been the case.
As from here on, that mostly unnoticed support for the category of these reserve bound currencies will fail, and it will be back to reality as these currencies will now finally been evaluated once again on their fundamentals, which certainly has not been the case during recent years.
To me, that’s a huge pricing game-changer in the currency markets, which will have far-reaching consequences and that many long-term investors still are not aware of.
Yes, mainly thanks to the dramatic change of course by China in the allocation of its FX reserves, finally a much less expensive euro, but also a whole range of other cheaper currencies, are on their way.
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