Debt – Could modern monetary theorists (MMT) be our ladder out of the pit? We’ll look into it, but not before we take you through the traditional schools of thought

 

“Debt is the slavery of the free” said Publilius Syrus. Depending on whom you ask i suppose. Modern monetary theorists believe we can print our way through any obligation as long as certain conditions are met. We’ll get there eventually but not before we go through older schools of thought and how economics evolved through the years.

Great debates (that are not searching for a winner but the truth), make people, well… better people. In our search for arguments to support an idea, we end up revealing so much about ourselves and others. A real search also paints a more pragmatic picture of what’s happening around us, without restraints and blinkers of orthodox or unorthodox statements. In a nutshell, just because someone says something is true and everyone goes along with it, it doesn’t have to be the one and only correct statement.

A friend asked the other day if economics is a science. And there you have it… we ended up rolling up our sleeves and debating some fascinating subjects that made a nice salad, interesting enough to put in today’s topic.

 

So what is science?

For a field of study to fit the framework of science, it needs to collect and analyze data, present objective hypothesis and theories that can be tested in controlled environments, and finally come up with agreed and irrefutable true/false results.

 

Does this apply with economics?

Every economic model was founded on solving a fundamental problem. The problem is that there is a finite (limited) amount of resources for product output, while the demand for human consumption of goods/services is essentially limitless.

By nature the problem has no solution. New economic theories cannot be tested in controlled environments. They would need to be applied in everyday life, but it they go bad, they can go really bad. Imagine the implications of a newly applied economic theory that plays with debt, income and spend, with all of them impacting directly everyone’s daily life.

For this reason, economics have always been regarded as a social science more than anything.

 

Social science and the evolution of economics.

 

In the old days, people produced what they needed to produce, then they collectively produced and shared the benefits, then they produced what was needed and desired, all within a framework believed to be a free market. This free market set its own prices and rules of trade, without external intervention.

Then along came hard recessions a.k.a. depressions, and intervention was needed to contain an out-of-control spiral of business cycles (from boom to recession and back to boom again).

The evolution took place in a world where nations didn’t know economics and all they knew was hoarding precious metals i.e. silver/gold, to the creation of schools of thought that studied how the world operated to increase the wealth of nations – which was the foundation of economics – and finally with governments intervening through their policies to smooth out these business cycles.

These schools of thought from Smith’s Classical, to Menger’s Austrian, and Keynes’s Keynesian, played their role in how we approach economics today. There’s a new school of thought, very interesting to look into as well called the Modern Monetary Theorists (MMT). More on MMT below.

 

The economic schools in a nutshell

 

Adam Smith’s classical view, studied how nations operated to increase their wealth. This view argues that we can make the world a better place by being extremely selfish. By making the best decision for yourself, you create and trade with another to meet your needs. In a large scale, these selfish transactions help the system as a whole. Consumers make decisions to maximize own utility, firms for profits, governments for wealth and strength.

Price fluctuations set the equilibriums through voluntary exchange, without government intervention (free market). The problem that persisted with this, is the continuous creation of an immense amount of products and a free market that would decide where these products went, leading to either shortages or excesses.

Division of labor was one of the strongest points of the process. Think of one person having to mine the material needed for a craft, mix the materials required to make the end product, craft the item and prepare it for final use. Now think of many people, taking individual roles in the process, specialized in doing their part and sharing the outcome. Instead of hoarding gold, nations would distribute and create specialties, increase production and trade with other nations to maximize wealth.

Now instead of looking at this from the perspective of production, think of it from the perspective of the people. Think of the economy as a collection of individuals that place a value on things they purchase, based on the satisfaction these provide, rather than a random production line that does just that… produce.

 

Menger’s Austrian school, brought forward the theory of marginal utility. In essence, how much of an item, consumers are willing to purchase. For example, you can buy a toaster once, and be satisfied with its utility as many times as it can be of service. If you buy a second toaster, the satisfaction will not be the same as the first one, since you already have one that works. So how many toasters would need to be produced, depends on the importance of the toaster itself and how many people would purchase it.

Value therefore is not placed on the material, labor and costs but on how important the product is. Not only was the free market specializing people and produced more stuff, but since the same people in the free market bought the stuff, they were also deciding what’s important and needed to be produced. All without government intervention again, same as with the classical view.

And the economic cycles kept rising and falling, until the early 20th century, 1929 to be exact, when the great depression hit the world. And the cycles needed to be tamed, as they were spiraling out of control.

John Maynard Keynes (Keynesian) introduces measures to counteract the extreme effects and in 1936 writes the book “The General Theory of employment, interest and money”. And although the Austrian school debated that these measures tampered with the free market, the consumer’s sentiment became the priority. Who would have a positive sentiment to invest in a company, knowing that a recession is around the corner, about every 10 years more or less? The answer is nobody, but since companies still needed funding to produce and support the economy, why don’t we try to influence the consumer’s feelings (spending) by policies that tax them (take money out of their hands) when the economy is booming, and tax less (leave money in their hands) to spend during economic downturns and troughs.

The aim was to reduce the severity of excess and lack of, by smoothing the effects of each economic cycle through fiscal policy.

Monetary intervention, also known as Quantitative Easing/tightening became mainstream in 1995 when Richard Werner proposed it for the Bank of Japan, to help with the banking crisis and depression the country was going through at the time. Though proposed to increase the total transactions in Japan by encouraging banks to issue more loans (so for productive purposes), it was taken out of context encouraging purchase of securities and real estate. Meddling with the money supply in an economy is the basis of monetary policy, further seen in the 2008 Great Recession and every cycle that required interest rate hikes/cuts to reign down inflation.

The Japanese state of economy is a very interesting subject on its own. When you look at case studies of world economies, you consider developed economies, under-developed economies, Argentina (see last article) and Japan.

 

So what is Modern Monetary Theory?

 

If you ask any central banker, they will either not know what this is, or refrain from talking about it altogether. Why is that? Before we dive into the intricacies of the concept, the general idea defies the traditional ways of a government book keeping i.e. earn more than you spend, collect money through taxes, work for budget surpluses, increase economic output/growth/GDP and pay back your debts with what you have. Not doing so, exacerbates national debt, makes you dependable on foreign and domestic creditors, bears the risk of default, eliminates credibility.

The easy way out, if possible and if you are monetary sovereign, is issuing bonds and printing new money to pay for debts and/or fund economic growth and/or pay for social programs, relief programs (like the pandemic relief programs) and so on.

Traditional economics (and past experience with Germany, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Argentina) tell us that this “easy way out” leads to inflation and even worse hyperinflation. It leads to an exchange rate collapse due to the devaluation of the currency. To restructure your debts, you seek help from foreign lenders who will give you a loan – but in their currency. So your currency is devalued, its worth much less than the currency you’re borrowing, you have to pay back in that foreign currency, you need reserves to do that which you don’t have and the situation worsens, leading to defaults.

 

How does Modern Monetary Theory look into the above?

 

Imagine if the so called “easy way out” of printing money and taking care of all the issues, wasn’t as bad as you thought. Yes, there are examples of the demonized consequences actually materializing, but what if these consequences don’t apply to every nation, especially a nation with the size and influence of the US?

So in a nutshell, if you’re able and it serves your needs* you can print/create money out of thin air, you don’t need to worry about national debt, its ok to have budget deficits, all because you can afford it. You just print more of it and its all good. There’s no need of a collateral (bond) same as there was no need for gold peg, when Nixon took the US off the gold standard.

*by being able, we’re referring to sovereigns that have their own currency and can print at will. Eurozone countries for example can’t increase money circulation by printing more since the ECB mandates dictate circulation and it affects not just one country, but all of them.

*by serves your needs, we’re referring to the printing of new money servicing your debt and growth. Argentina borrowed from the IMF in dollars and needs to pay back in dollars. Since it prints pesos, it can’t really serve its debt needs that need to be repaid in dollars.

 

More on MMT

 

In essence, a government that issues its own fiat currency (not linked to a commodity), doesn’t have to rely on tax revenues to spend, it cannot be forced to default on debt issued in its currency (since it can print and pay it off), it is constrained only by inflation created when the economy is at full capacity/employment, it uses strengthened stabilizers like income taxes and social welfare to control aggregate demand, it issues bonds as a place for investors/other countries to place their money rather than funding itself.

Dr. Stephanie Kelton is a professor of economics, former Chief Economist to the US Senate Budget Committee and a big advocate of Modern Monetary Theory. She is regarded as a “heterodox economist”, a term that describes an economist who’s theories contrast with traditional schools of economics. Author of the book “The Deficit Myth”, Dr. Kelton circles around 6 myths regarding deficit.

  • The myth that the Fed should bookkeep like a household
    • Where did the Fed find the billions (close to trillion) dollars to bail out Wall Street in 2008? Where did the Fed find the 9 trillion since the beginning of pandemic (not just for covid but also for infrastructure and green projects) that brought US debt from 21 trillion to 30 trillion? Where did you see the effects other than a number of many zeros increasing next to the label “national debt”?
  • The myth that deficits are evidence of overspending
    • Inflation in the real economy is evidence of overspending, being the only constraint of MMT
  • The myth that deficits will burden the next generation
    • The national debt burdens no one. The government can print and pay back at will (on conditions that debt is in its own currency)
  • The myth that deficits undermine long term growth
    • Fiscal deficits increase people’s wealth and savings
  • The myth that deficits make the US government dependent on foreigners
    • US trade deficit is also its “product piling” surplus
  • The myth that entitlement propels the US government toward a long-term fiscal crisis
    • As long as the capacity of the economy allows it to produce needed items, it will always be able to support its welfare and social security programs.

Although the book received controversial feedback and commendations for its radical approach to modern economics, there is no right or wrong approach when dealing with unprecedented events.

 

Final thought on debt.

 

We cannot look into debt individually by ignoring a country’s capacity to pay it back. If I use my credit card and borrow $60,000 but only make $40,000, my capacity to pay back is very low. If I make $100,000, I can pay back easy and I can borrow more. That’s why debt to GDP ratios are important indicators of a nation’s ability to pay back its debts.

On our article on the slippery road of national debt, we gave some studies of good and bad ratios, of limits not to be crossed (like 90%) and the reasons why. Bottom line is that passing a critical threshold (say its 90% for the sake of argument), the growth output for every dollar I borrow is hindered, to the point of making no difference. For example, at 30% debt/GDP, for every $1 dollar I borrow, I could have a hypothetical output of $1.30. So my borrowed dollar has been put to good use. For every percentage increase in the debt/GDP (40,50,60%) this output goes down to $1.20, $1,10, $1.00. Passed 90%, the $1 I borrow produces $0.95 (less than what I borrowed) and it doesn’t get any better moving forward. You see where this is going with debt-to-GDP ratios of  Japan, Australia and Venezuela at 260%, Singapore at 170%, Greece at 166%, Italy at 140%, the US at 124%, France at 110% and many more above the 90% threshold (as of the time writing this article).

Productive spend and growth, rather than inflating the bank accounts of the wealthy that only hoard and don’t put back into the system, will always balance nations irrespective of whether economics is a science or not. A laughing matter for those who consider themselves “real scientists” but a matter debated to date nonetheless.

 

The information provided is strictly for informational use and is not meant in any way to be construed as investment advice. One should seek expert advice, as all investment strategies involve risk of loss.

 

___________________________

 

More interesting topics to look into:

 

Capital Markets Training – for corporations and individuals

Forex White Label – Discover it all, requirements and options

EU Tied Agent – Should you consider it or not?

Forex jurisdictions – EU and Offshore with country stats and listed brokers

 

Start your Brokerage business by:

 

Connecting offshore: With our clients in Belize, Seychelles, the Caymans, Martial Islands and St. Vincent offering the most flexible IB and White Label solutions.

Connecting in the EU: With our clients in 15 out of the 28 member states offering strong partnerships to individuals and corporations with existing client base, looking to connect.

Contact us for a private conversation to discuss your case through the contact form or one of our emails at info@allfx–consult.com[email protected].

 

#startaforexbrokerage #ib #forex ib #whitelabel #forexwhitelabel #tied agent #regional partner #forexlicense #forexoffshorelicense

 

A new era dawns on Argentina – an excellent case study to learn from or cavy of unorthodox ideologies with potentially disastrous effects?

 

A land of legends by the name of Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona! Could we include Pope Francis here too? He does get a near 2% admiration by the population of Argentina (on Statista) among former presidents and TV hosts.

Past is in the past though and a new sunrise, shines on one of the most beautiful countries and 3rd largest economy of South America after Brazil and Mexico. Javier Milei defeats Sergio Massa in the 2023 Argentine general elections, after winning the run-off round by 3 million votes, and a decision of the latter to concede.

 

Who is Sergio Massa? Argentina’s Minister of Economics since 2022, he run for President in the 2015 elections, where he lost from Mauricio Macri, yet another Argentine favorite (again based on Statista). With media pinning current inflation numbers (more like hyperinflation of 143%) on current government policies (including Massa’s) and associating the bad economic stance on the country to dark politics of the past, Argentina voted for a different future, calling for drastic change and reformation measures.

 

Why is this a new era for Argentina though?

Well, Argentines are celebrating Milei’s victory by chanting “out with all of them”. If that doesn’t describe their views on past leadership, maybe Milei’s anarcho-capitalist campaign on reconstructing Argentina by shutting the Central Bank, dollarizing the economy and embracing decentralizing finance, can. Which is the reason why we’re writing about this. And if this is not painting a picture of what’s coming, take a 15% spending cut by shutting down ministries of culture, education and diversity, and also by eliminating public subsidies and there you have it.

 

Note on Argentina’s public subsidies:

In a study on “The Incidence of Subsidies to Residential Public Services in Argentina: The Subsidy System in 2014 and Some Alternatives” by CHRISTOPH LAKNER, MARIA ANA LUGO, JORGE PUIG, LEANDRO SALINARDI and MARTHA VIVEROS, they write:

“Though subsidies can be a tool to protect the poor, in Argentina they led to distortions and a large share have been absorbed by upper classes and non-residential consumers.

In 2015, electricity bills reflected less than 10% of production costs and lower tariffs have led to an increased demand of public services. Not only have energy and transport subsidies distorted both demand and supply, they have also not been efficiently targeted to the poor; instead, they have been distributed across all income groups, with the non-poor receiving the largest shares.”

Although we are writing about Argentina for its economic reformation plans primarily, we can’t fail to mention that the new administration will be seismically shocking social issues as well, like regulations on gun control, abortion, private education and the privatization of the health sector.

It’s also worth mentioning that worldwide through history, social distress/unrest always called for change, whether an extreme leftist movement (Marxist ideology of proletariat uprising) or extreme right (fascist/nationalist movements and demagogues with more devious plans than just the reformation of a country).

Now that we have a prelude, what is the context of today’s topic? Politics and social issues aside, we’ll only touch on the economic reformations i.e. the Central Bank shutdown, the dollarization concept, the huggzies on decentralized finance with a pro-Bitcoin stance and its integration into the economy (following El Salvador). Will he legally tenderize Bitcoin in the country like a prime beef cut? Remains to be seen.

 

Happening now and reasons leading up to this

 

To begin with, why don’t we try and put some context to the Argentine economy, and then see what makes these elections different from the rest, and why these economic reforms are of interest moving forward.

 

Argentina as of 2023 (at the time of writing this article):

Population 46 million
National Debt Over $400 billion ($43 billion is owed to IMF)
GDP Over $600 billion
Unemployment Rate 6.2%
Inflation Rate 143%
Interest Rate 133%
Poverty Rate 40%

 

As of late (since the country has been in economic turmoil for decades), Argentina was in a recession because of the pandemic like many other countries. In its 3rd year of droughts, pain was felt on its agricultural sector affecting soy, beef and wheat to say the least. Based on the International Production Assessment Division of the US, production yield – measured in Tons/Hectare – dropped since 2021 like so:

  • Wheat: from 3.4 to 2.3 and up to 2.7
  • Rice: from 7.3 to 6.6 and up to 6.8
  • Barley: from 4.0 to 2.9 and up to 3.6
  • Corn: from 7.9 to 5.1 and up to 7.7
  • Soybean: from 2.8 to 1.7 and up to 2.9

 

Argentina’s natural resources

 

First and foremost, any country’s best natural resource are its people. Argentines are beautiful people, highly educated and outspoken. Maybe a shocking political reformation like this one, is what the country needs so that Argentines can finally shine the way they should.

 

The country has the 3rd largest lithium deposits (after Australia and Chile), with 70% not yet exploited.

  • Lithium is used in batteries, a big component in the global energy transition, its used in medication treating bipolar disorders, it’s also used in glass/ceramics (stovetops, fiberglass) due to its corrosion resistance and durability.

 

Hydrocarbons

  • The 2nd largest shale gas formation (802 TCF) after China (1,115 TCF)
  • The 4th largest oil shale formation (27 billion barrels) after Russia, US and China
  • Large initiatives were taken by previous administrations for green energy transition (solar and wind) as part of the global climate change efforts. Another interesting view of the new administration is that climate change is a “socialist lie”. Milei also said that should he come to power, a company could pollute a river without restrictions. I hope there is humor somewhere in this sentence that I don’t see, because if not, in the name of economic reformation people voted for future green babies with 4 fingers, a tail and no toes.

 

Agriculture

  • Sector accounts for a quarter of the country’s exports.
  • 4th largest producer of soy worldwide.
  • Produces maize (corn), wheat, cotton, sunflower seeds and more

 

Mining Portfolio

  • $30 billion worth of mining portfolio via 113 projects, 26 of which are in production and under construction.
  • Further to lithium and energy, Argentina has deposits of copper, aluminum, uranium (40K tons, ranking 19th by reserves), iron, zinc, boron (used in fertilizers, insecticides, borax, fiberglass etc), potash (used in fertilizers)
  • Argentina shares the same mountains with Chile, the largest copper exporter in the world (with revenue of $23 billion in 2022). To understand how behind in international trade Argentina is, it has large amounts of copper deposits like Chile, but exports none of it. That’s why 50% of the projects in the mining portfolio mentioned above, relate to copper.

 

Argentina’s debt

Attributed solely to economic mismanagement – we’ve written about Argentina’s debt in previous articles – so a generic characterization would be a serial defaulter. Since 2001, the country defaulted already 3 times on its national debt.

  • 2001 in the middle of a financial crisis
    • Argentina was under military dictatorship (junta) from 1976-1983. New government reforms lead to hyperinflation of 200% by July 1989, president Alfonsin resigns.
    • 1990s saw fixing the exchange rate of its currency to USD, tax evasion and money laundering, lower tax revenues and large amounts of borrowing by president Menem.
    • Recession started in 1998, characterized as the great depression of Argentina, lasted for 3 years
    • Argentina defaults on $132billion
  • 2014 in the middle of a battle against holdout creditors. 3 options were at play:
    • Pay creditors. Given the debt burden it was rejected by the government.
    • Negotiate a deal. Regarded as a win-win, but the political cost on the government would have been too big. Also rejected by the government.
    • Selective default. Which was chosen, and its economic/social implications are still felt to date.
  • 2020 – middle of Covid 19 pandemic
    • Yet another debt restructure, failing to pay half a billion to its creditors, Argentina defaults on its payments.

 

So can a country can survive without a Central Bank?

Weirdly so yes it can. Central Banks became mainstream in the 17th century. Prior to that, monetary policy was managed by the country’s Treasury. Though it was also a time when Gold and Silver were the currency, accepted and recognized across the board.

Taking this a step further, if a country doesn’t have its own currency (so it kinda outsources the situation) then what would the real implications be, if no Central Bank was present? Do Eurozone countries need a Central Bank since they outsource their currency to the ECB? Take Andorra and Monaco as an example, both in the Eurozone, without a Central Bank of their own doing just fine. Or Liechtenstein with the Swiss Franc for that matter. Tiny countries, I know, but doesn’t science begin with small controlled experiments, and based on their success decide on a True/False result?

This being said, the Central Banks have an independent role to play in a country’s economics, a weapon against manipulation and fraud by their own governments. Although this is dependent largely on the role of the Central Bank in the county and the control that the government has on its functions.

The three largest cases we could look into to review this, would be the US Fed, Europe’s ECB and China’s PBC. In the US, the Federal Reserve is authorized by Congressional law, so that a president can’t order the Fed to print money on a tantrum (for example billions of starched dollars, fresh off the press, and instead of being used to support the US citizens and a $34 trillion indebted economy, we see them being used abroad in wars/fights that have nothing to do with their own economic growth. Not judging of course, justified help should always be present by stronger countries to weaker ones, hopefully on the premise of human rights to freedom, rather than the fear of a bond selloff or monetary interests (more on this another time).

Also, on a random note, not sure if calling country leaders names (like dictators) ever served properly geopolitical relations, but a US president did call a Russian president a dictator, right before the Ukrainian war, and a US president did call a Chinese president a dictator, right before a potentially upcoming Cold War. Wait a minute… isn’t it the same president that keeps throwing the D word around, like popcorn on the head of the person sitting in front of you at the movies, that just won’t stop talking… Nahh, the name calling can’t be related to any international events…

So the Fed is authorized by Congress. The ECB is run as a result of an international treaty, with a Euro independent of national governments, raising the question again whether a Central Bank is needed or not. In China, the system is deliberately set up so that the president can indeed order the PBC to do things. A gift from a Marxist/Leninist ideology that may serve well or not, but serves nonetheless.

 

What is up with dollarization and how far back can we go to understand this?

1946 saw Peron come into power, inspired by nationalist movements in Europe, including Italy’s Mussolini. Together with a strong labour movement (he favoured the workers by increasing wages, welfare programs etc) and cutoff the country from international trade. Peronists are his legacy, in power for the majority of the past 2 decades (including the Kirchner husband and wife (2003-2007 president Nestor Kirchner and his wife Cristina Kirchner, president from 2007-2011, re-elected president from 2011-2015, and emerged again as vice president, in the last administration from 2019 to date).

This nationalist behaviour, combined with the decoupling from international trade and huge spending for the public, needed money. Government was printing money, because it could, to tackle with excessive fiscal deficits and the more it printed, the worse inflation became. Too much money pumped into the economy, chasing too few goods, is the definition of hyperinflation. Local stores would set a price for their products in the morning, and reprice them in the afternoon. That’s how quickly conditions changed. They worked for nothing because they earned nothing.

 

Argentines had to get creative.

Saving in the local currency, the Argentine Peso, with the numbers experienced over the last decade had little to no impact. So they started saving in USD a long time ago. A problem of its own though, since government controls allowed people to exchange only up to $200 a month at the official exchange rate. Currency black markets took advantage of the opportunity and Argentines illegally (but understandably) went with it, in an effort to hold some value in their money. To put things in perspective, the official rate for 1 USD was 360 pesos. Through black markets, 1 USD is 760 pesos.

Soybeans in Argentina have an export tax of 33%. If the export price is 1,000 dollars, the government takes 33% or $333, and the farmer the remaining $667. The farmer will exchange these dollars for pesos at the official exchange rate. When the dollar rate is bad, farmers have to make a decision between exchanging now at a bad rate, or exchanging later at a better price, or holding the produce in storage until a better price is at play. Dollars in the hands of people, empty coffers in the hands of the government.

Soy dollar (dolar soja) was the solution to this. Better exchange rate provided by the government specifically for soya sales and exports. In September 2022, the first plan brought in $7,5 billion in revenue, the 2nd in December 2022 brought in $3 billion, the 3rd plan in April 2023 brought in $5 billion and the 4th plan in August 2023 brought in $2.1 billion.

 

So how do we dollarize the economy?

Countries did it in the past like Panama, Ecuador and El Salvador, though none of the size of Argentina and especially with a poverty rate at 40%. To dollarize you need a stable economy and build foreign exchange reserves. You need access to capital markets and prudent reductions in fiscal spend. You need internal trust – your own people need to trust that it’s the way forward with short term pain and long term gain. And you need external trust – outside lenders and investors trusting that there is potential in the plan. With Argentina defaulting so many times, no one wanted to lend them money. Except the IMF. The debt to the IMF is double the one of Egypt, the second largest IMF borrower. Following is Ukraine, Pakistan, Ecuador, Colombia and African countries.

 

Does Milei have the trust – both internal and external – willing to do whatever to reign down the problems at hand and make “Argentina great again” like Donald Trump said to him after his win?

We sure hope so, because other than the fact that Argentina is a beautiful country, and other than the fact that it has highly educated and smart people, it also has the potential to increase its output exponentially and become a solid partner in the world stage.

 

We discuss all of the above and more in our Capital Markets Training – for corporations and individuals

The information provided is strictly for informational use and is not meant in any way to be construed as investment advice. One should seek expert advice, as all investment strategies involve risk of loss.

 

___________________________

 

More interesting topics to look into:

 

Forex White Label – Discover it all, requirements and options

EU Tied Agent – Should you consider it or not?

Forex jurisdictions – EU and Offshore with country stats and listed brokers

 

Start your Brokerage business by:

 

Connecting offshore: With our clients in Belize, Seychelles, the Caymans, Martial Islands and St. Vincent offering the most flexible IB and White Label solutions.

Connecting in the EU: With our clients in 15 out of the 28 member states offering strong partnerships to individuals and corporations with existing client base, looking to connect.

Contact us for a private conversation to discuss your case through the contact form or one of our emails at info@allfx–consult.com[email protected].

 

#argentina #startaforexbrokerage #ib #forex ib #whitelabel #forexwhitelabel #tied agent #regional partner #forexlicense #forexoffshorelicense

Market Depth – How deep is deep enough? 

 

If you are in the market for finding a Liquidity provider, you will be familiar with the term market depth from the conversations you have had, and if not, this article will give you a good place to start from in your discussions.

Market depth, in a nutshell refers to the extent of liquidity within a given market, showcasing the volume of buy and sell orders at various price levels. Since brokers are highly reliant on competitive pricing and speed of execution for positions to keep their traders satisfied, market depth is a big deal.

 

Transparency

 

In our industry we hear the word “transparency” a lot. If you are able to provide tools to help visualize market depth you are at a plus, because traders are looking for the ability to analyze overall market dynamics and gauge supply & demand. This in turn can help them identify potential support and resistance levels. As a broker you want to inspire trust and confidence and give your traders tools to make informed decisions.

 

The need for speed…

 

When running a brokerage, we all know that things need to get done – fast.. Nothing more so than execution of trades. Here, market depth also plays an important role as it determines how quickly and efficiently orders are filled. If the market is too shallow you may be faced with slippage and orders being filled at less-than-optimal pricing. So you will be on the lookout for liquidity solutions who offer you the ability to ensure smoother execution & reduced risk of slippage, ultimately leading to an enhanced overall trading experience.

 

Accuracy

 

The deeper the market the more accurate price determination will be, reducing the likelihood of price manipulation or erratic price movements. You need stability and efficient price discovery to maintain integrity and ensure fair trading conditions for your base.

The cost of acquisition and retention of traders today is only on the rise and these costs do not need to be additionally impacted by not having sufficient tools and solutions that come along with the right selection of liquidity provider. Onboard with a liquidity provider who can support you with sufficient solutions & you will be better prepared to both attract and retain a more sophisticated trading audience.

 

Last but far from least… Risk Management.

 

Deeper market access provides greater flexibility in managing risk exposure, allowing brokers to execute large orders with minimal market impact. Additionally, access to real-time market depth data enables brokers to monitor liquidity conditions and adjust risk management strategies accordingly.

In times of market volatility or unforeseen events, it also offers resilience against sudden price swings and ensures orderly trading even in turbulent market conditions. By maintaining access to deep liquidity pools, brokers can instill confidence in their clients and mitigate the risk of market disruptions.

 

So to answer the question, how deep is deep enough?

 

As deep as is required to satisfy traders seeking transparency, efficiency and reliability in you as a broker.

#liquidity #marketdepth #startabrokerage

 

We discuss all of the above and more in our Capital Markets Training – for corporations and individuals

 

________________________________

 

More interesting topics to look into:

Liquidity speed and size – What really counts and how to optimize?

Choosing an LP partner – What should you consider?

Forex White Label – Discover it all, requirements and options

 

Start your Brokerage business by:

 

Connecting offshore: With our clients in Belize, Seychelles, the Caymans, Martial Islands and St. Vincent offering the most flexible IB and White Label solutions.

Connecting in the EU: With our clients in 15 out of the 28 member states offering strong partnerships to individuals and corporations with existing client base, looking to connect.

Contact us for a private conversation to discuss your case through the contact form or one of our emails at info@allfx–consult.com[email protected].

How to attract forex leads and maintain an audience for your brokerage. 

 

If you are thinking about starting a brokerage or are already in the space, generating forex leads and retaining clients is surely on your mind. With 100’s of options available to traders, standing out and maintaining a loyal client base requires forethought, planning and action. Let’s jump into it and look at some key points requiring the attention of marketers with a goal of propelling your brokerage to new heights.

 

 

  • Mobile Dominance: With the widespread use of smartphones the rise of our dependance on them has also skyrocketed for everything from communication & social media to purchases and online payments. Research indicates that over 60% (some stated close to 70%) of trading-related searches are conducted via mobile devices. Make sure your site and platform are optimized for mobile use if you want to capture forex leads and keep your audience engaged.

 

  • Hearty Appetite (and we are not talking about food): Traders consume massive amounts of information on the markets and economy. Technical analysis, fundamental analysis and educational resources play a huge role in how they make trading decisions. If you have a hungry gang coming over for dinner, won’t you be loading up your fridge and prepare tasty dishes accordingly? Craft engaging content that will not only attract forex leads and potential traders but also foster loyalty and position your brokerage as an authority in the trading space.

 

 

forex leads

 

  • Social Proof Matters: Testimonials, reviews, and social media presence significantly influence the decision-making process of new forex leads and your current trader base. Positive (or negative) reviews and recommendations from fellow traders play a big role in whether or not someone will start trading with you. Actively engage on social platforms, and provide client testimonials on your channels and website and build credibility on review sites. Online reputation management solutions can help alleviate a lot of the heavy lifting here.

 

  • Search Engine Savvy: A lot is evolving when it comes to SERP results, AI is making SEO managers stay on their toes, but one thing is for sure: SEO is still massively important and will remain so for the foreseeable future. SEO matters, including strategy, keyword optimization, backlink building, and content marketing. Get to the point fast in your content so that potential forex leads are fed your results first. This works towards improved organic leads and improving your brokerage’s overall visibility.

 

  • Personalization Prevails: Gary V. said “The best marketing strategy ever: CARE” and we couldn’t agree more. How do we care as marketers? Build experiences tailored to their preferences and objectives. Use data analytics and customer segmentation to give you insights helping you deliver targeted marketing campaigns and personalized user journeys. Side note: We are happy to explore Business Intelligence solutions with you anytime 😊!

 

KYC is not just for compliance. Knowing your client, how and where they interact online and leveraging this across applicable marketing channels is crucial to attracting forex leads & retaining your desired trader base, and will give you a solid foundation enabling you to compete in today’s brokerage landscape.

 

#fxmarketing #leadgeneration # leadgen #startabrokerage

 

We discuss all of the above and more in our Capital Markets Training – for corporations and individuals

 

________________________________

 

More interesting topics to look into:

Marketing management – Build a Lean, Mean Marketing Machine 

FX Marketing and Sales – Building bridges to improve results

Forex IB – Understanding the nature of an Introducing Broker

 

Start your Brokerage business by:

 

Connecting offshore: With our clients in Belize, Seychelles, the Caymans, Martial Islands and St. Vincent offering the most flexible IB and White Label solutions.

Connecting in the EU: With our clients in 15 out of the 28 member states offering strong partnerships to individuals and corporations with existing client base, looking to connect.

Contact us for a private conversation to discuss your case through the contact form or one of our emails at info@allfx–consult.com[email protected].

Marketing management – Build a Lean, Mean Marketing Machine 

If you are a brokerage owner or head of marketing, budget is often a bone of contention. For many reasons, marketing is sometimes tasked with feeding the funnel with limited resources. Although this can be frustrating (the marketer in us feels the pain) it is also an opportunity. Learning about marketing management and how to lead a lean marketing team efficiently & effectively, although not the simplest of tasks will pave the way for smart decision making and smarter budget allocation down the road. It is a delicate balance of planning, resource optimization, and team empowerment. Here are our top 3 tips for your lean, mean marketing machine:

 

1. The 3 C’s for Goal setting & tracking: Crystal Clear Communication  

Marketing management can’t work without clear communication. Communication lies at the heart of any successful team (more on this in another article), but it becomes even more critical in lean environments where every action (or non-action) counts. Start by establishing clear, concise channels for communication and stick to it. Project management tools like Trello, Asana or Monday can streamline workflows and ensure everyone is on the same page. Word to the wise: Select a tool that is not overly burdensome but can also allow for growth down the road (more on technology below.) 

Be clear about goals and priorities and be sure to get buy-in, commitment & alignment from your team. Break down goals into smaller, actionable tasks (Most PM solutions provide features to help manage these by deadlines, priority and dependencies). Why? It allows team members to understand their individual contributions to the bigger picture. Make active use & track progress, make necessary adjustments ensuring accountability. Most importantly, lead by example. 

 

2. Smart Use of Technology 

Leveraging technology and automation can significantly improve efficiency and productivity. By automating repetitive tasks and processes, for example: email marketing, social media scheduling, or reporting, can free valuable time that is better used for strategic, creative or hands on tasks. If it’s a CRM, analytics platform, or CMS, choose solutions that help everyone work smarter, not harder.  

Important: While technology can streamline or speed up processes, nothing can replace human creativity, experience and insight. Leveraging data and automation should be used to enhance not replace human interaction. 

 

3. Learn to Adapt and Adapt to Learn 

Adaptability is key to staying ahead of the curve or at least keeping up. Encourage experimentation, innovation, and risk-taking. Embrace change as an opportunity for growth instead of a threat.  

“A team is only as strong as its weakest link.” – Mark Grey. Today, this could be either a person or tech. Choose to be people first. Invest in ongoing learning and development. Capital Market education, marketing specialty training programs, outsourcing, workshops, and industry events will grow skill sets, perspective and provide opportunity to learn about emerging trends and technology. Making the right choice for technology and automation should let you work on the bigger picture, eliminate the noise and focus on the future. 

 

#fxmarketing #leadgeneration # marketingmanagement #startabrokerage

 

We discuss all of the above and more in our Capital Markets Training – for corporations and individuals

 

________________________________

 

More interesting topics to look into:

How to attract forex leads and maintain an audience for your brokerage

FX Marketing and Sales – Building bridges to improve results

Forex IB – Understanding the nature of an Introducing Broker

 

Start your Brokerage business by:

 

Connecting offshore: With our clients in Belize, Seychelles, the Caymans, Martial Islands and St. Vincent offering the most flexible IB and White Label solutions.

Connecting in the EU: With our clients in 15 out of the 28 member states offering strong partnerships to individuals and corporations with existing client base, looking to connect.

Contact us for a private conversation to discuss your case through the contact form or one of our emails at info@allfx–consult.com[email protected].

FX Marketing and Sales – Building bridges to improve results

 

FX Marketing and Sales find themselves battling for the spotlight all the time. Business development teams play a crucial role in driving growth, but they can’t do it alone. This is where marketing extends its hand and supplies the firepower needed to reach and surpass targets. So how can marketing supercharge business development efforts?

 

  1. “I remember you”

 

The main goal of marketing is to get your brand out there. Engaging content, smart campaigns, and engaging with your audience on social media, are just some of the methods marketers use to increase your brokerage’s visibility and brand awareness. When potential clients know who you are and what you offer, your business development team has a much easier time connecting the dots, making FX marketing and sales equal soldiers in all efforts.

 

  1. The right traffic

 

One of the biggest challenges for business development teams is… you guessed it: qualified leads. In addition to building brand recognition, marketing will deploy lead gen strategies and use various methods to attract potential clients who are genuinely interested in your brokerage and who are qualified to potentially engage in trading with you. From inbound tactics like content marketing and SEO to outbound strategies like email marketing and seminars, a goal is to fill your pipeline with quality leads to pursue.

 

  1. Make it pretty

 

When it comes to sealing the deal, having the right materials can make all the difference. Creative and informative collateral such as brochures, presentations and other supporting material can showcase your value’s and highlight its competitive edge. Make your business development team proud to get out there and be confident when communicating. There’s nothing stronger than a bonded FX marketing and sales effort towards a common goal.

 

  1. Who are you?

 

Credibility and trust are key. Marketing plays a pivotal role in building and maintaining your image & reputation as a trustworthy and reliable broker. How? Through things like content which establishes thought leadership, testimonials, review management and transparent communication, marketing builds confidence in potential clients.

 

  1. Here to stay

 

Once you’ve acquired a client, the work isn’t over. Marketing continues to support business development efforts by nurturing client relationships and encouraging repeat business. By providing valuable resources, timely updates, and personalized communication, marketing keeps a client engaged and satisfied, increasing their lifetime value to your brokerage.

 

FX marketing and sales are one fist. Marketing should be seen as an ally for business development teams. By boosting visibility & brand awareness, providing engaging and informative material, building credibility and trust, and supporting retention, BDs will be better equipped to perform their duties and ultimately DEVELOP the BUSINESS.

 

#fxmarketing #leadgeneration # marketingandsales #startabrokerage

 

We discuss all of the above and more in our Capital Markets Training – for corporations and individuals

 

________________________________

 

More interesting topics to look into:

How to attract forex leads and maintain an audience for your brokerage

Marketing management – Build a Lean, Mean Marketing Machine 

Forex IB – Understanding the nature of an Introducing Broker

 

Start your Brokerage business by:

 

Connecting offshore: With our clients in Belize, Seychelles, the Caymans, Martial Islands and St. Vincent offering the most flexible IB and White Label solutions.

Connecting in the EU: With our clients in 15 out of the 28 member states offering strong partnerships to individuals and corporations with existing client base, looking to connect.

Contact us for a private conversation to discuss your case through the contact form or one of our emails at info@allfx–consult.com[email protected].

 

Choosing a liquidity partner – What should you consider?

 

Selecting a liquidity partner also known as a liquidity provider(s) or LP,  is a critical decision that can significantly impact your business’s success. Inside of the liquidity provider category there are various “types” of companies, serving a specific role or service within the framework of facilitating liquidity (think aggregator, PoP or Prime of Prime, ECN Providers, Bank Providers, Broker Providers etc. More on the role of each in a later article).

 

Here are points to start digesting when you are in the market for a liquidity partner.

 

  • Know thyself: Have a clear understanding of your requirements and model. Think about expected trading volumes (consider potential growth as well if possible), asset classes you want to offer, regions you target, and whether you need access to specific markets or instruments.

 

  • Research: Things like reputation, reliability, regulation & compliance, tech, pricing models, and the range of assets they cover. There are multiple sites available, but also check members of your network or work with a consultant to build a picture.

 

  • Evaluate the actual liquidity: Assess the liquidity that each provider offers for the instruments you plan to offer to your clients. Look for tight spreads, low slippage, and depth of market. If possible request historical data or a trial period to gauge quality.

 

 

  • Technology and Infrastructure: Look at the supporting technology suite and infrastructure that they have in place to support the business like: execution speed, uptime reliability, order management systems, API connectivity, and risk management tools.

 

  • Risk Management: Look for features such as real-time monitoring, margin call mechanisms, and risk mitigation strategies to protect your brokerage from excessive exposure to market risk (some of this information may be hard to find but you can still ask).

 

  • Down to the dollar: Spreads, commissions, and any additional fees. Compare the costs across different providers and consider how these fees will impact your profitability and competitiveness in the market.

 

  • Quality of Support: Consider things like responsiveness, availability of technical support, and the level of expertise of their support team. Prompt and effective support is crucial for resolving issues that may arise during trading hours.

 

  • Negotiate Terms: Once you’ve narrowed down your options, negotiate the terms of the partnership. Discuss pricing, contract terms, customization options, and any additional services or incentives that can be applied to the deal.

 

  • Monitor Performance: Continuously monitor the performance of your chosen liquidity partner / provider to ensure they meet your expectations in terms of liquidity quality, reliability, and support services. Stay informed about market developments and be prepared to switch or add providers if necessary to adapt to changing market conditions or business needs.

 

The more information you have at your disposal, the better decisions you will ultimately be able to make. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to leverage the experience and knowledge of others in your decision making process.

#liquidity #liquiditypartner #liquidityprovider # lp #startabrokerage

 

We are available to get the discussion going if the task feels overwhelming, feel free to contact us or take a look at our Start a Forex Brokerage page.

 

________________________________

 

More interesting topics to look into:

 

Market Depth – How deep is deep enough when it comes to liquidity?

Liquidity speed and size – What really counts and how to optimize?

Forex White Label – Discover it all, requirements and options

 

Start your Brokerage business by:

 

Connecting offshore: With our clients in Belize, Seychelles, the Caymans, Martial Islands and St. Vincent offering the most flexible IB and White Label solutions.

Connecting in the EU: With our clients in 15 out of the 28 member states offering strong partnerships to individuals and corporations with existing client base, looking to connect.

Contact us for a private conversation to discuss your case through the contact form or one of our emails at info@allfx–consult.com[email protected].

Liquidity Speed Vs Size – What matters most?

 

Liquidity speed VS size? A simple but complex question for a broker looking to optimize flow. The answer is a balance of both…

 

Liquidity speed

 

By prioritizing liquidity speed, you attract clients who value quick execution above all else. This can lead to increased trading volumes as traders flock to platforms that offer near-instantaneous order fulfillment. Rapid execution minimizes slippage, reducing the risk of unexpected losses for traders and improving the overall trading experience.

The ability to offer lightning-fast execution can be a game-changer. High-frequency trading (HFT) firms & traders, in particular, thrive on milliseconds, capitalizing on price differentials across multiple platforms.

 

Size

 

While liquidity speed is obviously important, size also carries its own weight (no pun intended 😉). Size refers to the depth of liquidity available in the market (covered in more detail in our article Market Depth – How deep is deep enough?), indicating the volume of assets that can be traded without significantly impacting prices. Liquidity providers who promote their size are typically better equipped to accommodate large trades without causing substantial price movements, ensuring market stability.

If finding the right liquidity solution is a challenge for you, visit our Start a Forex Brokerage page or contact us to start a discussion.

 

Optimizing Liquidity Flow: Striking the Perfect Balance

 

While both are essential, the “in-between” is key to maximizing trading efficiency and market appeal. Here’s how you can fine-tune your liquidity flow:

 

  • Invest in tech: Take a walk through any aisle at the big B2B events and you will see great innovation and cutting-edge technology geared toward achieving lightning-fast execution. Trading infrastructure, from connectivity to algorithms, all looking to significantly reduce trade latency, giving you a competitive edge in the race for speed.

 

  • Grow your pool: Building a deep and diverse liquidity pool is essential. Consider collaborating with multiple liquidity providers across various asset classes to ensure ample liquidity coverage. Just as your traders diversify their portfolios you can look at diversifying your liquidity sources, mitigating the risk of liquidity shortages during peak trading periods.

 

  • Customization – It’s about them: Recognizing that different traders have various preferences, think about offering customizable solutions. Some traders may prioritize speed and are willing to pay a premium for solutions that upgrade execution, while others may prioritize size and look for platforms with strong liquidity pools. By offering tailored liquidity options, you can look at catering to the needs of a broader range of end clients.

 

  • Risk Management: While striving for speed and size, don’t overlook the importance of risk management. Implement strategic risk controls and monitoring tools to mitigate the potential adverse effects of rapid market movements. Doing this will protect both traders and your brand.

 

  • Watch & Adapt: Closely track the market, liquidity trends, and trader behavior to identify emerging opportunities and challenges. Stay agile and responsive so you can adjust your liquidity flow to align with evolving market demands.

 

The bottom line?

 

It’s not black and white. It’s not all one or all the other. Encourage your Dealers, Product Leads and Risk Managers to work together and look for ways to balance both liquidity speed and size in order to cater to the needs of your trader base.

#liquidity #liquiditysize #liquidityspeed #liquidityproviders # lp #startabrokerage

 

We discuss all of the above and more in our Capital Markets Training – for corporations and individuals

 

________________________________

 

More interesting topics to look into:

Market Depth – How deep is deep enough when it comes to liquidity?

Choosing an LP partner – What should you consider?

Forex White Label – Discover it all, requirements and options

 

Start your Brokerage business by:

 

Connecting offshore: With our clients in Belize, Seychelles, the Caymans, Martial Islands and St. Vincent offering the most flexible IB and White Label solutions.

Connecting in the EU: With our clients in 15 out of the 28 member states offering strong partnerships to individuals and corporations with existing client base, looking to connect.

Contact us for a private conversation to discuss your case through the contact form or one of our emails at info@allfx–consult.com[email protected].

The slippery road of National Debt

If you owe your bank $100, you have a problem. If you owe your bank $1 million, your bank has the problem. It mattered I guess when this quote was popularized by Keynes, but I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the number 300 trillion, let alone managing it. Global debt is an all-inclusive number though, comprised of sovereign debt, corporate debt and household debt. And since its unmanageable even by the best homo sapiens, we’ll take a closer look at the national debt in today’s discussion and the current situation surrounding it.

National debt is the total amount of outstanding borrowed sums (pending to be paid), accumulated over a nation’s history. Nations make money from tax revenue and they spend them for social welfare, infrastructure and to promote growth. When they spend more than they make, they accumulate deficits which are paid by borrowing. Borrowing comes in the form of bonds, which is a security issued with a maturity date, that pays back the loan plus an interest. The collective accumulated amount borrowed plus the promised interest constitutes the national debt.

 

national debt

 

national debt

Where does borrowing come from?

 

Borrowing can come from anywhere. It’s split into debt held by the public and debt held by the government (intragovernmental). The debt held by the public is held by state/local governments, pension funds, mutual funds, corporations, individuals and foreign nominal/legal persons. The debt held by the government is the amount of debt that the government owes to itself. It is held mostly by government trust funds like social security trusts and insurance trusts. In approximate proportion of 75% for public debt and 25% for government debt, both form the overall national debt. Denmark and the US have a debt ceiling in place.

Debt ceiling? A debt limit that – by law – cannot be passed. If the country reaches this limit, it can no longer get money via borrowing, it can no longer use debt to pay for obligations, fund social programs and services. And like in all things financial, there’s an irony to this as well. Denmark never reached its debt ceiling – almost did with the 2007 crisis – but they increased the limit so high, they can never possibly reach it again. The US reached theirs – 78 times to be exact since 1960 – and increased it, reached it and increased it again and again, you see where I’m going with this. The current US debt ceiling is at $31.4 trillion. The current US national debt is at $30.93 trillion. What’s next? 

 

Debt to GDP ratio 

allfx consult

 

Largely related to the 2007 financial crisis as well as the COVID 19 pandemic, the debt was accumulated to avoid defaults (bankruptcies), protect lives and retain unemployment at manageable levels. According to the IMF, global debt rose to $226 trillion in 2020. Compared to the global GDP, you get a 256% global debt to GDP ratio.

Can these numbers be reduced? How fast and how? More borrowing to pay past borrowing? And if not, what are we to make of this masterpiece?

 

What do these numbers mean in a context that we can understand?

The World Bank conducted a study in July 2010 called “Finding the Tipping Point-When Sovereign Debt Turns Bad”, that placed lines not to be crossed by countries. If crossing the line is only for short term periods like small recessions, it shouldn’t have much of an effect on productivity. If crossed and extended for longer periods like decades, economic growth is likely to be hindered. Based on its samples of advanced and developing countries, between 64%-77% debt to GDP was found to be a proper estimate.

Talking of hindered economic growth is one thing. Entering the realm of country defaults is a different story. Another study conducted by Hirschmann Capital, with information taken since the 1800s, showed that 51 out of 52 countries that passed the 130% debt to GDP ratio, defaulted one way or another.

 


Table contents from Hirschmann Capital (Source: Reinhart & Rogoff, RIETI Japan, Bloomberg, HC Estimates)

So if countries today crossed the line by a longshot, why don’t we see them defaulting already?

To put things in perspective, a country will choose to default when the gains of not paying its debt exceed the cost of default. That is if the country has a choice. Here is a broad classification of defaults:

  • Disorderly default – “Violent”, with no time to prepare both for the banking sector or the citizens who are unable to react. Described by the collapse of all financial transactions, bankruptcy of banks and a steep increase in unemployment. Cyprus almost went through this back in 2013, if not for a bail-out program from the Eurogroup, the EU and the IMF of €10 billion, in exchange for impossible obligations (like tapping in people’s bank deposits).
  • Orderly default – Happens for the same reasons as the disorderly default, but this is a strategic choice of the country filing for it. There is a consensus reached between the lender and the borrower, with milder consequences to the economy and its people. It allows for a quicker comeback to the international markets. There is time to set things right unlike the disorderly default, and unemployment is much less severe.
  • Selective default – Partial default of payments and loans. Selecting to default on one or more obligations, but continue to pay some. In general, its characteristics are similar to the orderly bankruptcy.

Greece is an example of a country that defaulted as a result of the 2007 financial crisis, while other European countries facing similar numbers didn’t. Partial reasoning? the ability of a country to pay its debts relative to its ability to raise surpluses. Belgium and Italy as an example, were also hit by the crisis and had high debt ratios but were able to raise surpluses while Greece wasn’t. Another indication that economic output/production is imperative. A country consistently spending more than it earns, is on a downhill spiral. Passed the point of no return, odds are that a restructuring, devaluation, higher inflation or outright default is inevitable.

In the early 2000’s (which was also the beginning of the housing bubble), emerging markets were urged to take on credit from advanced countries to finance their operations. With very low interest rates to provide cheap money and attract borrowers, emerging markets jumped on the train to what they thought was the answer to their problems.

 

Taking Zambia as an example, the country is largely dependent on copper mining and rain-fed agricultural production. Zambia ranks 6th in the world in terms of Copper production (2nd in Africa after the Democratic Republic of Congo) and depends on weather to support its agriculture. Its external debt was so large relative to its output that it became unsustainable, and it became the first African country that defaulted on its payments during the pandemic.

Chinese creditors hold 1/3 of Zambia’s debt (or approximately $6 billion). The creditors include Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Jiangxi Bank and China Minsheng Bank. Some say Zambia is a test case, with the world eyeballing how China handles debt restructuring as well as the precedent this case sets, for other countries in risk of default to follow.

 

IMF among others, point out the following “remedies”, relative to lowering debt: 

  1. Productivity and economic growth – produce more than you spend or better yet, spend so that you can produce.
  2. Surprise burst in inflation – which reduces the nominal value of the debt and increases tax revenue due to higher prices.
  3. Austerity measures – Cut spending, increase taxes, accept any tomatoes thrown your way
  4. Debt relief – Debt restructure and gold revaluation maybe?*
  5. Financial Repression a.k.a. macroprudential regulation – government policies that redirect funds intended to go somewhere else, to the government. Helped countries reduce debt after the end of WW2 and is coming back due to the large amounts of current debt. It includes tighter connection between banks and government, pension funds/domestic banks lending the government, regulation of cross border capital moves, higher reserve requirements, prohibition of gold purchases (Gold Reserve Act of 1933).
  6. Default

 

*Is gold revaluation an option?

 

The term “gold revaluation” over the years fell victim to speculations and conspiracy theories. The outcome is a biased approach (depending on who benefits from such action and who loses). Not to be confused with the gold revaluation account held by central banks (where they can realize profits from the rise of gold price relative to the cost of buying it). Although related because, if you use gold revaluation to register unrealized gains and write off debt in your balance sheet, you’re in the foothills of a gold standard system. And if that’s the case and you check the relationship between money in circulation relative to the gold held in reserves (which is what the gold standard is suppose to do), you will find that the backing percentage is very low.

The gold revaluation we’re referring to, is mostly Rothbardian (see Murray Rothbard’s gold revaluation ideas) who popularized the possibility. Imagine returning to a gold standard system and fixing (pegging) the gold price per ounce, based on the quantity of gold central banks have in reserves relative to circulating money. Similar to 1933 in the US, when the government confiscated gold at the current price ($20.67 per ounce) and then immediately revaluated it to $35 per ounce (gold Reserve Act). Should the same concept happen today, from $1,800 it could reach anywhere between $10,000 to $50,000/ounce. Why? As explained by Jim Rickards, author of “The New Case for Gold” if the global gold reserves are 34,564 tons (as far as we know, since central banks don’t disclose the full numbers), to reach a peg of 20-40% of M1, you would need to price gold astronomically high. 40%? M1?

M1 is a measure of money supply (measuring from M0-M3). M1 is also known as narrow money, all the currencies and assets that can be easily converted into cash. The further you go on the M scale, the broader the money it measures and the less liquid (easily convertible to cash) the assets are. Rickards explained that 20-40% of M1 is historically a workable percentage used, when money was pegged to gold in the past (see image). The law in the US from early 1900s to 1950s said that gold price multiplied by the amount of gold in reserves had to amount to 40% of total money supply (Federal Reserve Act of 1913). Due to the Vietnam war and the need for money, they had to curtail the law, but 40% worked just fine. He also said that the Bank of England in the 1800s managed a successful gold standard when Britain became dominant power after the fall of Napoleon and until WW1 with 20% gold backing the money supply.

At $1,850/ounce, gold reserves relative to money supply is extremely low. If we consider M1 in the US hypothetically at $10T (with 8,000 tons of gold reserves), the gold is backing approx. only 4.75% of M1. The value of gold to back 40% of M1 would need to be approx. $15,600. If you take Rothbard’s approach of 100% backing, the value of gold should be approx. $39,000/ounce. What?

 

Here’s how it works out*:

 

M1 (hypothetically is 10 Trillion) / Tons (8,000) = $1,250,000,000 (Price per ton)

$1,250,000,000 (Price per ton) / 32,000 (Ounces per ton) = ~$39,000 (Price per ounce)

$39,000 (Price per ounce) x 40% = ~15,600 (Price per ounce)

At $1,850 (Current price of gold per ounce), backing is 4.75% (39,000 x 4.75%)

*For accurate calculations you will need to replace the hypothetical numbers with current ones. The above is meant to explain gold revaluation, and does not reflect our opinion on whether it is a viable strategy or not.

According to the World Gold Council 

Worldwide Total Gold Reserves by Region = 31,422.57 tonnes = 34,564.827 US tons 

  • America =  8,133.46 (North America) + 614.68 (South America) = 8,748.14 
  • Europe = 11,776.29 (Western Europe) + 3,433.59 (Central & Eastern Europe) = 15,209.88 
  • Asia = 3,332.62 (East Asia) + 878.72 (South Asia) + 809.30 (Central Asia) + 731.28 (South-East Asia) = 5,751.92 
  • Middle East, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa = 1,460.46 (Middle East & North Africa) + 172.28 (Sub-Saharan Africa) = 1,632.74 
  • Oceania = 79.89 

 

Last but not least, there is a reason credit/debt is not taught the way it should to youngsters in schools. Keeping the majority financially illiterate is the way to maintain and distribute wealth how the minority sees fit. You can be the person that gets a loan to buy a house to live in and have constant cash outflows, or the person that gets a loan to buy a house, then rents it to someone else and has cash inflows.

In one of Kiyosaki’s appearances, he mentioned that during the financial crisis the banks gave him tax free money (credit), somewhere around $300 million to buy property because they knew he would turn them into cash inflows. So where everyone was defaulting on their payments and losing their homes, he was finding dirt cheap properties that are now worth whatever they are worth, producing cash flow and making him even more rich. That’s $300 million out of $700 billion injected into Wall Street through the TARP program. Story for another day but think of how much wealth was produced from the left over $699.7 billion.

Debt/credit may not be as bad a your grandparents said it is. As long as you put it to good use.

The information provided is strictly for informational use and is not meant in any way to be construed as investment advice. One should seek expert advice, as all investment strategies involve risk of loss.


 

Start your Brokerage business by:

Connecting offshore: With our clients in Belize, Seychelles, the Caymans, Martial Islands and St. Vincent offering the most flexible IB and White Label solutions.

Connecting in the EU: With our clients in 15 out of the 28 member states offering strong partnerships to individuals and corporations with existing client base, looking to connect.

Contact us for a private conversation to discuss your case through the contact form or one of our emails at info@allfx–consult.com, [email protected].

#startaforexbrokerage #ib #forex ib #whitelabel #forexwhitelabel #tied agent #regional partner #forexlicense #forexoffshorelicense

 


You might find this interesting

Capital Markets Training – for corporations and individuals

Forex White Label – Discover it all, requirements and options

EU Tied Agent – Should you consider it or not?

Forex jurisdictions – EU and Offshore with country stats and listed brokers

Reserve Currencies | Survival of the fittest

Yet another Munger word of wisdom on describing his perception of risk, was “show me where I’m going to die, so I’ll never go there”. A bit dark, but it fits quite well in introducing today’s discussion, since history does have a habit of repeating itself. And what better way to use history, if not to be able to anticipate the good, the bad and the ugly and act accordingly? You see, what we consider normal in our timeline, might be at the end of its own timeline in a much broader context. Given the shift in the balance of power among nations and their economies, this generation’s normal might now be due for a change. This article is a by-product of upcoming posts, that will outline and briefly look into the historical record of reserve currencies.

Why reserve currencies?

Because when there are major global developments, tensions, conflicts, wars, unexpected turmoil that might push down on the strong and lift up the rest, whispers of rising powers, who they might be and the chances of a change of scenery, are gaining ground. Possible shifts like this, imply a possible change in the global reserve currency as well. Or do they?

What are reserve currencies?

Held in large quantities by foreign central banks and major financial institutions, reserve currencies facilitate transactions, investments and given that global trade is measured in trillions, they make the world go round faster, relatively cheaper and most importantly safer.

Foreign exchange reserves are a way to meet foreign obligations, as well as appreciating a national currency when needed. A country uses its reserves to buy its own currency and increase its value when there is a risk of devaluation, so holding a substantial amount of foreign currency is the way to go.

The more demand for transactions in a specific currency, the more liquid it becomes. This provides easier access to capital for domestic firms since it can be acquired cheaper than it would, without the demand increasing its value. Other than the currency itself, investors tend to also hunt for securities denominated in the currency, like bonds that tend to be a safer bet in getting their investment back. Borrowing for the country becomes easier, allowing for investments, increased productivity, growth.

Important to note that with a strong currency, it becomes more expensive for foreign companies to buy a domestic product. It is also cheaper for domestic companies to buy foreign goods. By default then, imports increase and exports decrease, which raises the country’s trade deficit. A manageable downside though since an economy’s core doesn’t rely only on one variable.

The larger and stronger an economy gets, the more interlinked it becomes to the global economy. According to the World Bank:

top 10 countriesWhen other sovereign nations are using your currency as their own, when over 65 countries peg their currency to yours, and when over 90% of forex trading involves your currency, you know you dominate. On the other side, when your GDP starts to decline at the same time that the GDP of competing countries is on the rise (with outlook of surpassing you) and/or when you are repositioned as a major partner in the global arena (EU exchanged more goods with other partners in 2021 compared to the US), you know that times might be changing.

Notwithstanding that the sanctions of the war in Ukraine, relative to the freezing of more than half a trillion dollars of Russian reserves, begs the question. Should a country hold all it’s eggs in one basket and be subject to economic paralysis if it doesn’t comply with everyone else’s decisions? This senseless war is an extreme case and the international community correctly took action but we’ve seen what people/countries would do, to protect their interests. Could the inward shift – becoming less dependent on global supply chains – be reflected on the currency reserves as well?

The USD global reserves peaked in the year 2000 at 70% (from 0% in early 1900) and had a 10% decline by 2021. Small increases in global reserves in EUR, GBP, JPY, CNY, AUD, CAD are taking portions of the 10% but nonsignificant to challenge the USD yet. History wants dominant countries and their reserve currencies, to hold that position for 100 years on average. If that’s true and the US took over Britain in 1920 (some argue it was during or after WW2 in the 1940s), then the US has held that position for 80-100 years already. Is the geopolitical scenery, the decline in GDP, the rise of the GDP of competing countries and this “average timer”, a signal for an upcoming change?

For thousands of years to the end of WW2 that saw an almost bankrupt Britain and a shift in dominance from the British pound to the United States and the US Dollar, countries and their currencies were fighting for the spot at the top of the podium. Breath in – the Byzantines and their solidus/hyperpyron gave way to the Italian Florin and Ducat, that briefly gave way to the Portuguese Real, followed by the Spanish Real and Spain’s colonial ambitions, who then gave way to the Dutch and their Guilder, who were pushed out by the French and their Livre, who lost to Britain and the British Pound who finally gave rise to the United States and the US Dollar – breathe out.

And in all of the above, the country standing at the top of the podium was constantly challenged leading to conflicts and wars, the necessary funding of these wars, retreats and abdications, debasement (see image) of the currencies, ultimately leading to the fall of one empire and the rise of another.

Debasement from what though?

From common metals like bronze and copper to precious metals like silver and gold, the mint (construction) was specific to the territory/country. The weight and the content of the metal varied and at times of scarcity, with the precious metal in the coin hardly recognizable.

Before we delve into the actual reserve currencies, their timelines, the significance of understanding what happened in the past to help us anticipate what might be coming in the future, here’s some conversation starters (or conversation enders depending on whom you ask)…

Barter was a system of exchange, that dates back thousands of years. Goods and services were exchanged for other goods and services, and that concluded a transaction. Simple.

Metals (precious as well as common) were used for bartering. Going back to 200 BC as an example, Bronze was heavily used as a medium of exchange, not so much for its value, as much for its crafting qualities (easily turned into tools or something else). The evolution of Bronze as a medium of exchange can be seen in the following steps (see image)

 

We could go even further back to the Chinese, the Lydians, the Greeks and times where only agricultural products were used for trade. In our example though we can see clearly the evolution of first having a rough medium of exchange accepted for trade, to a more fair (measured and weighted) unit of the same, to an easier to handle, transport and store coin. Cattle, general livestock, or grain were messy, required care, maintenance, space. Metals were preferred because they lasted longer and could be easily stored or carried around for miles through the trade routes.

Trade routes at that time, were all land locked. Traders were still exploring to find safe passages and it wasn’t until approx. 110 BC that the Silk Route was established connecting China and Southeast Asia with Africa and Europe. Trade routes via sea, were recorded during the Age of Discovery/Age of Exploration. That was when European countries wanted to explore the world in the 1400s. It opened up a world of opportunities as well as brutal competition, which led to the discovery of the Americas as well as new trade routes to India and the Far East.

All of the above are characteristics of the evolution of the early trade to the monetary systems we understand today. From the minting of the coins, to their value outside the boundaries of the nation (since more precious metal content in the coin made it sought after for trade), allowed new empires to rise, on the demise of another.

Past a nation’s investment in itself i.e. innovations, technology, education (also required traits at older times), things remained the same relative to who’s on top. Productivity/output, competitiveness in global trade, military competences, and the recognition of currencies as reserve currencies declared the winner. Getting there is one thing, staying there is another. There’s an old saying “a bird in hand is worth two in the bush”. You should be content with what you have rather than risk losing it all for something bigger, which is what happened every single time. No risk, no reward though and this risk is what formed the world as we know it today.

So, what were the main attributes of the years 1200 onwards relative to global reserve currencies? How did empires rise and fall and what where the characteristics of their currencies? What is the relevance today and what lessons can we possibly learn from it?

Stay tuned! #foreignreserves #reserve_currencies

The information provided is strictly for informational use. It is not meant in any way to be construed as investment advice. One should seek expert advice, as all as investment strategies involve risk of loss.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Lets look into all these together!

We discuss so much cool stuff during our Capital Market Training sessions. Thus enhancing our communication skills and allowing us to step into another level of personal achievement. This is not just another training session. It was made for Sales Teams to professionally communicate with their clients, but its now directed to anyone.

Find out more here – Capital Markets Training