After endless arm-twisting, scores of gloomy forecasts, and a host of ominous threats, the Greeks have finally acted just as their many new masters instructed. Throughout this entire year-long ordeal, made worse by the perpetual mayhem of protesters, the Euro has been the front line for wagering and sentiment prediction, having first plummeted and then rallied the past six months. It has been an amazing turn of events that would have made you a nice profit if you were nimble and on the right side of the trend.
Had you not only been right but also the type who likes to send out thank you notes, then you would probably want to send one to Athens, to Brussels, or maybe even to the IMF. But according to currency strategist Ashraf Laidi, CEO of Intermarket Strategy Ltd., you'd be remiss if you didn't also send one to Beijing.
"China has been instrumental in supporting the Euro," Laidi says. He adds that if you look at a chart you will see a major bottom in January that coincided with Prime Minister Wen's trip to Spain and Germany and subsequent announcement that China will buy Eurozone debt. And not once, but repeatedly.
So Laidi says the next time "you think hell is going to freeze and the Euro is going to fall apart and break below $1.38," keep an eye out for the Chinese response, be it a statement, a visit or something different, but always couched in the concept that Europe is "an important strategic partner."
One of the reasons Laidi says the Chinese are doing this is to simply broaden their support (or at least temper the opposition) in Europe where they export, trade and increasingly look to acquire hard assets. The other is to add passengers aboard a slow moving barge that's headed to a magical place called a New Global Reserve Currency.
To be fair, China isn't the only entity with outsized holdings of U.S. dollars in its reserves that is desirous to diversify - and justified too. Central banks, monetary authorities and multi-national corporations throughout the world want the same thing.
As it stands now, Laidi says the percentage of global reserves held in USD has already fallen from 80% to 65% just since the birth of the euro in 1999. The lower that percentage goes, the higher the number of USD sellers goes, and therein the drawing of the battle lines of foreign reserve diplomacy, AKA currency wars.
Heavy stuff, I know, but clearly high stakes theatre in a world of increasing clout by emerging economies and at the very least, something to be mindful of Laidi says when making strategic plans for your dollars, euros, gold and silver.