What will happen with the dollar?

Keith asks, as do others:

I had been curious as to how this whole situation will effect the dollar…If you find the time, I would like to know or see the future of the dollar in this situation.

Please note that I am a "buy and hold" guy, not a trader, and I am certainly not a currency trader.  But I’ll cover the dollar vs. the Euro.

My inclination is to think the dollar will hold its value.  I don’t trust any of the macro models of currency values and we do know that purchasing power parity, while very approximate, and exerting its force only in the long run, does not imply a bearish stance toward the dollar.

Here is a list of European banks with assets greater than the gdp of their respective home countries.  And read this.

As for this country, the Chinese now regard us as "battle tested."  We have been through some truly major bumps, yet no major U.S. politician has called for "not paying back the Chinese."  We’ve even guaranteed the $350 billion in agency securities held by the Chinese central bank and without a stir.  I think the Chinese are shocked by that and in many ways they now trust their investments more than before, not less.

The Chinese do not have comparable trust in "Europe."  If something went wrong in the financial realm, who would they call up on the phone?  Which country?  What do they think is the power base of the head of the ECB?  What political party does that person belong to?  What favors can be traded and with whom?  Whose answer would count as definitive?  Keep in mind that for all of China’s modernity, their leaders are still communist party functionaries.

The negative scenario for the dollar is where the Chinese economy collapses, not where the Chinese become too afraid to buy dollar-denominated assets.

Bush, Bernanke, Paulson — we call them leaders.  The Chinese think of them as the customer service department.  I suspect the Chinese get straighter answers from them than we ever do.


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