Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Look to the East

The financial crises hollowing out many major banks in the West is revealing more signs of China's growing influence and wealth.

In March 2006, China eclipsed Japan as the largest holder of foreign reserves of currencies of all kinds - more than U$8.5 trillion.

In June of 2008 China's reserves of US dollars passed the US$1.8 trillion mark.

Last week, in the wake of the Lehman Brothers investment bank failure, the government-owned Chinese Investment Corporation (CIC) was being touted around as a possible saviour should Wall St top dog, Morgan Stanley, run into trouble. The CIC already owns 8.8% of Morgan Stanley.

Whether they buy Morgan Stanley or any other bank hardly matters. What does matter is that when no US organisation other than the government had the resources to step in, it was to China (and Japan) they turned for cash.

That is as clear an indicator yet that the baton of global power and wealth has already shifted to the Far East. There is no way a United States mortgaged to China (and others) and dependent on its manufacturing can be anything other than polite to the country (China) that now makes its things and funds its lifestyle.

It now remains only for perceptions to catch up with that reality.

Though still the world's largest economy, the United States won't be number one for much longer. It's decline has been rapidly advanced by the very policies that were supposed to see the opposite occur.

Life is like that sometimes.

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