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Is the U.S. Dollar Decline Good For The American Economy?

October 20th, 2009

As the  American dollar slides inexorably downward  in value relative to other major currencies, there are those heralding this  development as marvellous news. Many of these cheerleaders can be found within the camp of the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury, despite their public protestations that they are true believers in a strong U.S. greenback. But away from the T.V. cameras and open microphones, these guardians of American finance and economics believe that a weak dollar means an improved balance of payments. American exports are helped by being cheaper for overseas customers, while imports become more expensive, dampening the American appetite for goods originating from foreign sources.

Actually, a balanced dollar is good for the American and global economy, but a weak dollar in the long-term is not such good news. True, American exports become cheaper, initially. However, commodities and value add derived from overseas sources comprise a large component of American exports, so in the long-term a weak dollar does not provide a permanent advantage in terms of cost-competitiveness.

More important than exports, the center of gravity of the American economy is foreign-sourced oil and natural gas. With more than two thirds of American oil consumption based on imports, a collapsing dollar will raise energy prices in the United States to a level that is not sustainable for many consumers. Now, Messrs Geithner, Bernanke and Summers; tell me how this benefits the U.S. economy?


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