Economist John Williams says if Russia sells its U.S. dollar holdings, it could trigger hyperinflation. Could it collapse the financial system? Williams contends, “Yes, it certainly has a potential to do that. Looking outside the United States, there is something over $16 trillion in cash, or near cash. That’s about the same size as our GDP. . . Nobody has wanted to hold the dollar for some time. The dollar, fundamentally, is weak. It couldn’t be weaker. All the major factors are against it. It’s just a matter of what would trigger the massive selling. Nobody wants to hold it. The Russians start selling, and you have China indicating a general alliance here in terms of what’s transpiring. If the rest of the world believes this is what’s going to happen, people who have been wanting to get out of the dollar for some time very easily could front-run the Russians. The scare is on. People will try to get out of it as rapidly as they can.
What would happen if there was massive dollar dumping globally? Williams says, “It would be disastrous for our markets. All those excess dollars coming in, with bonds being sold, interest rates would spike. The stock market would sell off and we’d see inflation. To prevent that and try and keep things stable, the Fed would tend to buy up those Treasuries. It would intervene wherever it could to stabilize the circumstance. It’s going to be very difficult, and it’s going to be very inflationary. Williams goes on to say, “You have to keep in mind, back in 2008, we had one of the greatest financial crises the United States had ever faced. The system was on the brink of collapse at that point in time. What the Fed and the federal government did was spend every penny they could, anything they could create or anything they could guarantee. They did everything they could possibly do to keep the system from crashing. They guaranteed all bank accounts. So, they saved the system, but now what they did has not borne fruit. We have not seen an economic recovery. We have not seen a return of health to the banking system. So, the system is very vulnerable; and if the Russians carry through with their threat, you have, indeed, the risk of it collapsing the system.”
Is this the end of the world as we know it in the U.S.? Williams says, “It does have the effect of creating a hyperinflation, which I think it would. It’s the type of circumstance that will not allow life to continue as we know it because the U.S. is not able to handle hyperinflation. We’re not structured for it. Zimbabwe had one of the worst hyperinflations that anyone has ever seen. They were still able to function for a while because they get paid in a rapidly depreciating currency. It was so rapid it became like toilet paper overnight, but they would go to a black market and exchange it for dollars. We (the U.S.) don’t have a black market to escape from our dollars. Gold is probably the closest thing to that. Gold will tend to rally here as the dollar sells off, baring very heavy intervention by the central banks which you may see. The fundamentals will eventually dominate, and you will see a very weak dollar and very strong gold coming out of this.”
Don’t look for the U.S. dollar as the safe haven because Williams says, “Historically the dollar has been the safe haven in a political or financial crisis, but that hasn’t been the case for four or five years now. Instead, what you have seen is a flight to other traditional safe havens such as gold and the Swiss Franc. The dollar has lost its magic. Nobody wants to hold it. So, if the Russians follow through and convince the rest of the world that they are going to do it and it looks like China may join them, a lot of countries will want to dump dollars and get out ahead of the crowd.”
On the overall economy, Williams says, “It is rolling over, and the numbers are starting to show we are starting into a new recession. You should have an actual quarterly contraction in the first quarter GDP. One of the best indicators of that are retail sales, and they gave a clear recession signal in January. That’s the strongest recession signal since September of 2007, which is three months before the ‘Great Recession’ took place, and I’ll contend it never ended.”
(There is much more in the video interview with John Williams.)
After the Interview: Williams says that some are blaming the bad economic numbers recently on bad weather. Williams says that is nonsense and adds, “It is much more than bad weather.” Williams told me he expects “gold to take off in response to the flight from the U.S. dollar.” Williams says the flight from the U.S. dollar would have happened without the Russia/Ukraine crisis. Williams says, “The Fed will likely intervene to mitigate dollar problems but the effects are doomed,” and went on to predict the Fed taper of bond purchases would likely continue to help support the dollar. (Click here for the Shadowstats.com home page.)
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Greg is the producer and creator of USAWatchdog.com. The site’s slogan is “analyzing the news to give you a clear picture of what’s really going on.” The site will keep an eye on the government, your financial interests and cut through the media spin. USAWatchdog.com is neither Democrat nor Republican, Liberal or Conservative. Before creating and producing the site, Greg spent nearly 9 years as a network and investigative correspondent. He worked for ABC News and Good Morning America for nearly 6 years. Most recently, Greg worked for CNN for shows such as Paula Zahn Now, American Morning and various CNN business shows.