Is this the beginning of worldwide financial chaos that will ultimately lead to one world currency? No matter how one looks at it, it is big news.
Russia cut gas exports to Europe by 60 per cent today, plunging the continent into an energy crisis ‘within hours’ as a dispute with Ukraine escalated.
This morning, gas companies in Ukraine said that Russia had completely cut off their supply.
Six countries reported a complete shut-off of Russian gas shipped via Ukraine today, in a sharp escalation of a struggle over energy that threatens Europe as winter sets in.
Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Croatia and Turkey all reported a halt in gas shipments from Russia through Ukraine.
Croatia said it was temporarily reducing supplies to industrial customers while Bulgaria said it had enough gas for only ‘for a few days’ and was in a ‘crisis situation’.
Around 80 per cent of the gas European Union countries receive from Russia comes through Ukraine.
Back in November, before most grasped just how serious the collapse in crude was (and would become, as well as its massive implications), we wrote “How The Petrodollar Quietly Died, And Nobody Noticed“, because for the first time in almost two decades, energy-exporting countries would pull their “petrodollars” out of world markets in 2015.
This empirical death of Petrodollar followed years of windfalls for oil exporters such as Russia, Angola, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria. Much of that money found its way into financial markets, helping to boost asset prices and keep the cost of borrowing down, through so-called petrodollar recycling.
As Bloomberg reports Russia “may unseal its $88 billion Reserve Fund and convert some of its foreign-currency holdings into rubles, the latest government effort to prop up an economy veering into its worst slump since 2009.”
These are dollars which Russia would have otherwise recycled into US denominated assets. Instead, Russia will purchase even more Rubles and use the proceeds for FX and economic stabilization purposes.
Bowing to the inevitable, Switzerland has ditched an increasingly expensive policy to limit the export-sapping rise of the Swiss franc — a decision that propelled the currency a whopping 30 percent higher against the euro within minutes.
Thursday’s decision by the Swiss National Bank, or SNB, to end its efforts to keep the euro from trading below 1.20 francs came amid mounting speculation that the European Central Bank will next week back a big stimulus program that will put more euros in circulation, which would further dilute their value.
That expectation has seen the euro face intense selling pressure in currency markets, particularly against the dollar. The euro has fallen to nine-year lows against the dollar and below its launch rate in 1999.
Take a look at the US debt clock for some perspective.