Gold News

BRICS vs. the Dollar

US dominance challenged...
The BRICS nations are coming of age, says Frank Holmes at US Global Investors.
At its annual summit in Johannesburg last week, the bloc of five emerging countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – announced plans to expand for the first time since 2010.
On January 1, 2024, the BRICS will welcome six new members: Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The expansion will further establish the group as a counterbalance to the G7's global influence, catapulting BRICS' share of global GDP to 36% as well as covering nearly half of the world's population. With dozens more nations expressing interest in joining the bloc, the BRICS are clearly positioning themselves for a multipolar world, one that is not dominated by the US and other members of the West.
I expect the BRICS' rise to create both opportunities and challenges for investors. Understanding the geopolitical, economic and regulatory landscape will be critical for navigating this environment successfully.
Perhaps most notably, Russian President Vladimir Putin – speaking remotely due to an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant for alleged war crimes – discussed the BRICS' push to conduct trade in local currencies instead of the US Dollar, a move that would significantly reconfigure global trade dynamics.
Since the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944, the Dollar's status as the world's primary reserve currency has offered the US tremendous benefits such as cheaper financing and unparalleled leverage in the form of financial sanctions. But now, with BRICS nations seeking an alternative to the greenback (and growing their ranks from five members to 11), the currency landscape may see a new major tectonic shift, contributing to greater volatility in the Treasury market, exchange rates, inflation and more.
At the heart of this strategy lies the New Development Bank (NDB).
Established in 2015 as an alternative to Western lenders such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), the NDB has been making waves. Its recent decision to release an Indian rupee bond and to consider local currency bonds in other countries reflects its intent to diversify away from the Dollar.
Former Brazilian leader and NDB's current president, Dilma Rousseff, shared the bank's ambitious plans to lend between $8 billion and $10 billion this year, with approximately 30% of the lending in local currencies. The US-based financial system is "going to be substituted by a more multipolar system," Rousseff told the Financial Times.
My own opinion is that the US Dollar will not be completely dethroned as a reserve currency, though we may end up seeing it share the stage more prominently with the Euro, Chinese Yuan, Bitcoin or some other currency. In their current roster, the BRICS represent over 32% of the world's GDP, which is slightly more than the G7's 30%; however, GDP per capita, an indicator of economic prosperity, remains a gap that the BRICS must bridge.
As the BRICS nations evolve and expand their influence, a more diversified global governance is inevitable. The current trajectory promises a world where traditional powerhouses, including the US and European Union (EU), must adapt to new realities.
As an investor and an observer, staying nimble will be paramount.
Also shaping the market right now are rising US Treasury yields. As these yields surge due to stronger-than-expected economic growth and the Federal Reserve's tightening policies, risk-on assets, from stocks to Bitcoin, are feeling the heat. Over the past 30 days, the 10-year Treasury yield has risen some 9.4% while the S&P 500 and Bitcoin have lost 3.5% and 10.8%, respectively. Bitcoin, in fact, has fallen into the most extreme oversold territory since last summer's crypto winter, triggered by the failures of crypto firms Celsius, Three Arrows Capital and Voyager.
With Jerome Powell asserting at Friday's Jackson Hole summit that it may be appropriate to hike rates further to combat inflation, investor focus could be shifting toward sectors less reliant on borrowing, like utilities and consumer staples. Still, many remain optimistic about the resilience of equities, especially in the context of a robust US economy.
The standout exception to struggling equities, of course, has been artificial intelligence (AI) stocks in general and NVIDIA specifically. For the 12-month, year-to-date, three-month and five-day periods, the Santa Clara-based graphics processing unit (GPU) maker remains the top-performing S&P 500 stock by far as investors scramble to get exposure to companies involved in AI.
In the midst of all this, gold continues its role as a stable store of value. Despite challenges like rising yields, my sentiment around gold remains bullish. Its current trading levels, though down from their peak, still indicate strong investor interest.
I'm also bullish on gold mining stocks, though I must urge investors to focus on high-quality, well-managed companies with strong balance sheets.

Frank Holmes is chief executive officer and chief investment officer of US Global Investors Inc., a registered investment adviser managing approximately $4.8 billion in 13 no-load mutual funds and for other advisory clients. A Toronto native, he bought a controlling interest in US Global Investors in 1989, after an accomplished career in Canada's capital markets. His specialized knowledge gives him expertise in resource-based industries and money management.

See the full archive of Frank Holmes.

Please Note: All articles published here are to inform your thinking, not lead it. Only you can decide the best place for your money, and any decision you make will put your money at risk. Information or data included here may have already been overtaken by events – and must be verified elsewhere – should you choose to act on it. Please review our Terms & Conditions for accessing Gold News.

Follow Us

Facebook Youtube Twitter LinkedIn



Market Fundamentals