Interest Rate Roundup

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Dollar getting hammered, gold flying on RBA move, oil chatter

What a morning for the U.S. dollar ... a bad one, that is. It's getting hammered against all the major currencies, with the Australian dollar leading the way, thanks to a semi-surprise rate hike by the Reserve Bank of Australia. Unlike our "all easy money, all the time" Federal Reserve, the RBA is joining minor countries like Israel in taking baby steps toward higher rates. The RBA raised its cash rate target by 25 basis points to 3.25%.

Meanwhile, the commodities market is in an uproar over a report in the Independent newspaper in the U.K. It suggests foreign countries -- especially oil producers in the Gulf region -- are trying to hedge out dollar risk by selling their goods in a basket of currencies, rather than just greenbacks. Gold prices have soared to a fresh all-time record high this morning on the news, while oil is also popping and the dollar is getting clubbed. More from that story below:

"In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.

"Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars.

"The plans, confirmed to The Independent by both Gulf Arab and Chinese banking sources in Hong Kong, may help to explain the sudden rise in gold prices, but it also augurs an extraordinary transition from dollar markets within nine years."


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