Rise of the (SDR) — IMF Issuing New SDRs To Help Fight Pandemic

Rise of the (SDR) — IMF Issuing New SDRs To Help Fight Pandemic

Most monetary observers know the Fed has a printing press and can print dollars. The European Central Bank has a printing press and can print euros. The same is true of other central banks around the world; they can each print their home currencies. But far fewer know that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has a printing press as well.

It can print a kind of world money called the special drawing right (SDR) and hand it out to the 190 countries around the world that are IMF members. This is rarely done. It was last done in several tranches in 2009, both in response to the 2008 global financial crisis and to compensate certain members who had missed earlier allocations. Before that, the last issuance was in 1981.

However, the IMF is now moving quickly to issue new SDRs to help reliquefy the world in the wake of the pandemic panic and recession. This article provides the latest details on this coming issue of freshly printed SDRs. The current consensus among the top countries in the IMF (basically the G20, which includes the G7 plus China, Brazil, India, and some other major economies) is that the new issue should be US$500 billion.

However, as much as US$650 billion could be issued without further approval from the US Congress. (The US is the largest member of the IMF and has veto power over certain major IMF actions.)

Changes in the IMF issuance process may already be in the works

These can include special allocations to poorer countries. Right now, the allocations are in proportion to your IMF capital account, which means richer countries like the US get more than poorer countries. It is also possible for the IMF to issue SDRs to non-member entities such as the United Nations, to be used for climate change programs.

After decades of sleeping on the sidelines, it looks like the SDR is ready to wake up and assume a role as a new major reserve currency controlled not by the US but by the IMF executive committee, which includes China as a powerful member. This process will take time, but it has now begun in ways that are different from prior SDR allocations.

At a minimum, this expanded global money supply has some inflationary potential. Beyond that, the SDR may finally be ready to emerge as a rival to the US dollar as the reserve currency of choice for China, Russia, and the developing world.

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Think Congress is done with multitrillion-dollar deficits? Think again

One might think that with the passage of the new US$1.9 trillion deficit spending package, the Democrats in control of Congress would be done spending for a while. Guess again. With the ink not yet dry on the new spending, congressional leaders are already planning a new multitrillion-dollar deficit spending package to be passed later this year, probably by August.

The new proposal is reported in this article. The details are still being debated, but some suggestions include a US$4 trillion spending package, paid for with US$2 trillion of tax increases and US$2 trillion of new deficits financed with borrowings. Once again, this new deficit spending is being promoted as COVID relief, but it has almost nothing to do with COVID in the public health sense. It’s just another giant step in the direction of an expanded welfare state.

The only sustainable way out of the COVID recession is real growth

History shows that programs of this type incur some resistance in the beginning. But once they are in place, and people start to get their cheques and tax credits, the program becomes politically impossible to end. Democrats know this. They also know they may lose the Congress in the 2022 mid-term elections. So, they are moving at warp speed to get these programs in place while they still control Washington. Biden has said that we need these spending packages ‘to grow the economy’.

Actually, these bills slow the economy because the added debt causes Americans to save more and spend less in anticipation of higher taxes down the road. The only sustainable way out of the COVID recession is real growth, which comes from getting people back to work and reinvesting corporate profits. These bills actually keep people from looking for jobs because the handouts are often more than people could be making at work.

Slower growth, more debt, and more handouts…indefinitely?

Higher taxes needed to pay for the handouts also slow the creation of jobs because businesses have less money to invest with or hire workers. Most Americans agreed with the COVID relief packages that passed in 2020 because people and businesses were in distress and immediate help was needed to prevent a much worse economic calamity. Now, business is reopening and activity is picking up. There is less need for entitlement spending and more need for reduced taxes and regulation to help economic growth become self-sustaining.

These trillion-dollar deficit spending packages do the opposite. Slower growth, more debt, and more handouts will be with us indefinitely if Congress continues down this deficit spending path.

All the best,

Jim Rickards Signature

Jim Rickards,
Strategist, The Daily Reckoning Australia

PS: This content was originally published by Jim Rickards’ Strategic Intelligence Australia, a financial advisory newsletter designed to help you protect your wealth and potentially profit from unseen world events. Learn more here.