Making Things Worse for the US Currency

The world's largest financial organizations have already taken big hits – quietly, for the moment – but the collapse of the subprime sector really is hurting, and we are seeing things that just shouldn't happen in a well-ordered financial world.

Fund managers are not producing credible fund valuations; they have frozen values using old prices, and are forbidding the normal result, which is investors piling through the exits.

No-one can price mortgage-backed derivatives at the moment, and no-one really knows how the underwriters of credit default swaps are pricing the insurance time-bomb they're sitting on. These horrible investments are in many cases worth nothing, and in the case of credit-default swaps, less than nothing.

The current lull might prove an opportunity for the prospective gold buyer. Gold has not yet moved up; in fact, it has dipped a little as stretched investment funds have sold whatever they can to raise cash and reduce their margin calls.

Nor can any serious comment on the gathering storm fail to remark on the apparent "flight to quality" which on Monday last week saw US Treasury bonds put in their strongest day since Black Monday 1987.

US Treasury bonds are part of the fast-growing and utterly irredeemable $9 trillion public debt now outstanding in the United States. The US trade deficit was also on record-breaking form again last month. Only a few short weeks ago these dreadful statistics drove the US Dollar to record lows against a basket of major world currencies.

Only a lack of imagination would allow investors to think suddenly of the US Dollar as today's "quality" refuge. Any respite for the Dollar will surely be temporary; indeed, the bounce we saw during the sharpest stock-market losses so far may have simply been short-covering by Dollar bears (of which there are plenty) rather than fresh buying of “quality”.

Everything that has just happened in fact makes things worse for the US currency.

from "The Gathering Storm" by Paul Tustain

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