domingo, 2 de abril de 2017
Las dos notas que siguen hablan de cierta coordinación entre Rusia y China para aumentar sus reservas de oro, tal vez preparando el terreno para un futuro monetario con un dólar en retroceso, un colapso del sistema financiero, o ambos. La nota que sigue es de SputnikNews:
Título: Gold Bugs: Why Russia is Stacking Bullion Bricks Like There's No Tomorrow
Texto: Russia's Central Bank purchased record amounts of gold in 2016, and plans to accelerate its purchases, retaining its spot as global leader in the growth of gold reserves. That's according to a recent survey by the GFMS analysts at Thomson Reuters. Russian economists explain the thought process behind the Bank's purchases.
According to GFMS analysts, Russia's Central Bank purchased 201 tons of gold in 2016, more than the central bank of any other country. The Bank made its purchases over 11 consecutive months, with purchases accelerating to an average of 36 tons per month between October and November as gold prices fell.
The analysts expect Russia to continue buying large volumes of gold in 2017, predicting about 200 tons in purchases, regardless of fluctuations in gold prices, oil prices and even exchange rates. For comparison, the report estimates the total purchases of gold by other Central Banks to amount to roughly 250 tons for the year.
As of March 1 2017, Russia's sitting on 1,654.7 tons in gold reserves, making its reserves the sixth-largest in the world, behind the United States, Germany, Italy, France and China.
Commenting on the Central Bank's moves, economist Valentin Katasonov, professor of the faculty of international finance at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, told Russia's Svobodnaya Pressa online newspaper that the Bank is making the right move.
"The Bank is doing the right thing. Specialists know that the today the price of the precious metal is undervalued, and significantly so. Therefore, investors looking for long-term results are investing in gold," Katasonov said.
"Of course, from the perspective of the short-term investor, such an investment means possible losses. The gold market includes very large speculators, who periodically reduce prices artificially for some period of time, making it possible for interested investors to buy gold at a lower price. But this market also has its own written and unwritten rules."
Katasonov reiterated that as far as Russia is concerned, the Central Bank's decision to stock up on gold is almost exclusively beneficial. "Among other things, it allows us to support the domestic gold mining industry, which in the 1990s and the early 2000s faced a very difficult situation. And what is especially insulting is that most of its output at the time went abroad."
Of course, the economist stressed that the introduction of a Russian gold-based currency would be even better, although there are essentially no countries remaining in the world today where paper money can be exchanged for the precious metal.
"There is an even more important purpose for gold – that of strategic reserve," the economist noted. "Factually, this is 'emergency' currency which can be used in the event of a collapse of the so-called reserve currencies, including the US dollar, or in the case of a collapse of the global financial system into a series of currency blocs – allowing for trade to occur between these blocs."
Katasonov emphasized that the world has already witnessed the latter kind of collapse – when in the 1930s the global financial system was split into several currency blocs. At the time, gold was seen as a universal means of payment, which made it highly sought-after.
"Therefore, I think that gold –as a strategic reserve – should be in the hands of the state, that is, in the hands of the Ministry of Finance. The Russian Central Bank is not an appropriate institution for this, in my opinion." The crux of the problem, according to the economist, is that the Central Bank "is not entirely [accountable] to the President or the Russian government, and is capable of making decisions which run counter to the interests of the Russian Federation, including as far as gold is concerned."
For his part, Nikita Maslennikov, an expert at the Institute of Contemporary Development, stressed that the Central Bank monitors market condition, and appropriately makes purchases during downswings. In any case, gold is a highly liquid asset.
"The Bank's goals are clear," the expert said. "Gold is a good buy when seeking to ensure the country's international position. Ratings agencies, for example, look at the size of gold reserves. Furthermore, for large players, the growth of the share of gold in a country's reserves is recognized as an indicator that the country's economic authorities are trustworthy. In fact, this indicator by itself motivates the development of trade ties."
La nota que sigue es del sitio web Zero Hedge:
Título: Moscow And Beijing Join Forces To Bypass US Dollar In Global Markets, Shift To Gold Trade
Texto: The Russian central bank opened its first overseas office in Beijing on March 14, marking a step forward in forging a Beijing-Moscow alliance to bypass the US dollar in the global monetary system, and to phase-in a gold-backed standard of trade.
According to the South China Morning Post the new office was part of agreements made between the two neighbours "to seek stronger economic ties" since the West brought in sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis and the oil-price slump hit the Russian economy.
According to Dmitry Skobelkin, the deputy governor of the Central Bank of Russia, the opening of a Beijing representative office by the Central Bank of Russia was a “very timely” move to aid specific cooperation, including bond issuance, anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism measures between China and Russia.
The new central bank office was opened at a time when Russia is preparing to issue its first federal loan bonds denominated in Chinese yuan. Officials from China’s central bank and financial regulatory commissions attended the ceremony at the Russian embassy in Beijing, which was set up in October 1959 in the heyday of Sino-Soviet relations. Financial regulators from the two countries agreed last May to issue home currency-denominated bonds in each other’s markets, a move that was widely viewed as intended to eventually test the global reserve status of the US dollar.
Speaking on future ties with Russia, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in mid-March that Sino-Russian trade ties were affected by falling oil prices, but he added that he saw great potential in cooperation. Vladimir Shapovalov, a senior official at the Russian central bank, said the two central banks were drafting a memorandum of understanding to solve technical issues around China’s gold imports from Russia, and that details would be released soon.
If Russia - the world's fourth largest gold producer after China, Japan and the US - is indeed set to become a major supplier of gold to China, the probability of a scenario hinted by many over the years, namely that Beijing is preparing to eventually unroll a gold-backed currency, increases by orders of magnitude.
* * *
Meanwhile, as the Russian central bank was getting closer to China, China was responding in kind with the establishment of a clearing bank in Moscow for handling transactions in Chinese yuan. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) officially started operating as a Chinese renminbi clearing bank in Russia on Wednesday this past Wednesday.
"The financial regulatory authorities of China and Russia have signed a series of major agreements, which marks a new level of financial cooperation," Dmitry Skobelkin, the abovementioned deputy head of the Russian Central Bank, said.
"The launching of renminbi clearing services in Russia will further expand local settlement business and promote financial cooperation between the two countries," he added according to.
Irina Rogova, a Russian financial analyst told the Russian magazine Expert that the clearing center could become a large financial hub for countries in the Eurasian Economic Union.
* * *
Bypassing the US dollar appears to be paying off: according to the Chinese State Administration of Taxation, trade turnover between China and Russia increased by 34% in January, in annual terms. Bilateral trade in January 2017 amounted to $6.55 billion. China’s exports to Russia grew 29.5% reaching $3.41 billion, while imports from Russia increased by 39.3%, to $3.14 billion. Just as many suspected, with Russian sanctions forcing Moscow to find other trading partners, chief among which China, this is precisely what has happened.
The creation of the clearing center enables the two countries to further increase bilateral trade and investment while decreasing their dependence on the US dollar. It will create a pool of yuan liquidity in Russia that enables transactions for trade and financial operations to run smoothly.
In expanding the use of national currencies for transactions, it could also potentially reduce the volatility of yuan and ruble exchange rates. The clearing center is one of a range of measures the People's Bank of China and the Russian Central Bank have been looking at to deepen their co-operation, Sputnik reported.
One of the most significant measures under consideration is the previously reported push for joint organization of trade in gold. In recent years, China and Russia have been the world's most active buyers of the precious metal. On a visit to China last year, the deputy head of the Russian Central Bank Sergey Shvetsov said that the two countries want to facilitate more transactions in gold between the two countries.
"We discussed the question of trade in gold. BRICS countries are large economies with large reserves of gold and an impressive volume of production and consumption of this precious metal. In China, the gold trade is conducted in Shanghai, in Russia it is in Moscow. Our idea is to create a link between the two cities in order to increase trade between the two markets," First Deputy Governor of the Russian Central Bank Sergey Shvetsov told Russia's TASS news agency.
In other words, China and Russia are shifting away from dollar-based trade, to commerce which will eventually be backstopped by gold, or what is gradually emerging as an Eastern gold standard, one shared between Russia and China, and which may day backstop their respective currencies.
Meanwhile, the price of gold continues to reflect none of these potentially tectonic strategic shifts, just as China - which has been the biggest accumulator of gold in recent years - likes it.