US Dollar’s Exorbitant Privilege Fades as Replacements Emerge

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In the case of international trade and global payments, the U.S. made aggressive use of sanctions and tariffs. With some merit, Washington has argued that these actions level the playing field for global trade or punish bad global actors. But a series of equal and opposite reactions are occurring as nations move to remove the role of the U.S. dollar at the center of global trade and finance.

This will have a long-lasting structural impact in ending the dominance of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

The term exorbitant privilege refers to the benefit the United States has due to its own currency (i.e., the US dollar) being the international reserve currency. Accordingly, the US would not face a balance of payments crisis, because it purchased imports in its own currency.

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