A panel called the U.N. Commission of Experts on International Financial Reform is set to make a recommendation to the U.N. on March 25 that the world ditch the dollar as its reserve currency and replace it with a shared basket of currencies, a member of the panel said last week.
Currency specialist Avinash Persaud, a member of the panel of experts, told Reuters last week that the proposal was to create something like the old Ecu, or European currency unit, that was a hard-traded, weighted basket.
It is a good moment to move to a shared reserve currency, he said.
Sentiment for this is building as the Federal Reserve looks to greatly expand the supply of dollars with its plan to purchase $300 billion of longer-dated U.S. debt, which was announced last Wednesday after the March FOMC meeting.
Persaud said that the United States was concerned that holding the reserve currency made it impossible to run policy, while the rest of world was also unhappy with the generally declining dollar.
There is a moment that can be grasped for change, he said.
Today the Americans complain that when the world wants to save, it means a deficit. A shared (reserve) would reduce the possibility of global imbalances.
Meanwhile, officials at some of Asia's top think tanks said last week that the role of the U.S. dollar as the key global currency will decline after the financial crisis, and its value may also weaken due to America's current account deficit.
The dollar's role will gradually be shifted, Zhang Yunling, director of Institute of Asian and Pacific Studies at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told a news conference in Tokyo after a meeting of Asian research groups.
China hopes to have a stable and gradual transition rather than a radical revolution, he added.
Chalongphob Sussangkarn, a former Thai finance minister and now president of Thailand Development Research Institute, also expressed worries about any sharp fall in the dollar.
The U.S. deficit is so huge. This is why all countries, particularly East Asia, are concerned because we hold a lot of these assets. What happens if the U.S. dollar falls 40 percent? Many central bankers will be losing huge amounts of money.
In an essay posted on the People’s Bank of China’s website, Zhou Xiaochuan, the central bank’s governor, proposed replacing the US dollar as the international reserve currency with a new global system controlled by the International Monetary Fund.
The goal would be to create a reserve currency “that is disconnected from individual nations and is able to remain stable in the long run, thus removing the inherent deficiencies caused by using credit-based national currencies,' he wrote.
Mr. Zhou said the proposal would require “extraordinary political vision and courage” and acknowledged a debt to John Maynard Keynes, who made a similar suggestion in the 1940s.
To replace the current system, Mr. Zhou suggested expanding the role of special drawing rights (SDRs), which were introduced by the IMF in 1969.
The value of SDRs today is based on a basket of four currencies–dollar, yen, euro and sterling–and they are used largely as a unit of account by the IMF and some other international organizations.
China’s proposal would expand the basket of currencies forming the basis of SDR valuation to all major economies and set up a settlement system between SDRs and other currencies so they could be used in international trade and financial transactions.
Countries would entrust a portion of their SDR reserves to the IMF to manage collectively on their behalf and SDRs would gradually replace existing reserve currencies.