The world became a far more dangerous place last night after reports surfaced of a gold-for-oil deal between Iran and its second biggest oil exporting market, India.
According to an Israeli-based news website, New Delhi has agreed to purchase Iranian oil in gold while Tehran’s second largest export market, China, is poised to do the same. By cutting out Wall Street and The City of London, the gold-for-oil deal allows New Delhi (and Beijing if it follows suit) to ensure a steady flow of energy while circumventing US and EU sanctions punishing financial institutions that do business with Tehran. The biggest beneficiary of this new oil pricing model though is undoubtedly Iran. Not only does it make a laughing stock out of US-led sanctions; it has the power to severely curtail America’s death grip on the global economy.
Forget sabre rattling in the Strait of Hormuz; gold-for-oil poses the greatest threat to America’s influence on the world stage. The lynchpin of US power isn’t its massive military. It’s the dollar’s role as global reserve currency; a position it owes to a 1973 decision by OPEC to only accept dollars for oil. Every country which depends on oil (i.e. every industrialized nation on the planet) must keep dollar reserves both to secure their energy needs (the engine of economic growth) and defend against speculative attacks on their home currencies. This ‘dollar hegemony’ comes with serious perks, like paying cut-rate prices to borrow money on global debt markets despite running up a 15 trillion dollar national debt.
Now, imagine the fallout if the US dollar were de-linked from oil… Continue reading