by Martin Armstrong, Armstrong Economics:
COMMENT: Marty; Some people are trying to claim that China in bypassing the Swift System, they are undermining the dollar. The latest absurd statement is that Japan will bypass the dollar and SWIFT System to transact using China’s CIPS system in inter-bank settlement. I really had to laugh at how ignorant this statement is for it would mean Japan will no longer sell anything in the USA. It seems that these people so desperate to kill the dollar clutch at anything and we just laugh in the trading rooms. I think you should address this statement for the naive people out there who are clueless as to real international trade.
REPLY: Yes, I agree, You are right. The average person out there may read these headlines that are written by people without a single day of real world experience. They seem to confuse clearing and investment and their analysis is always against the dollar. They try to create a myth that somehow the Yuan will kill the dollar, which is what they said about the Euro. CIPS v SWIFT is about clearing – not investment money and it has no impact upon parking money. The crisis in BitCoin has been created by money trying to escape China. More that 90% of the volume has been in China as it was being used to get money out of China into dollars – so much for CIPS killing the dollar.
Let’s set the record straight – SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) is by no means a U.S. dollar exclusive system. Visa International supports approximately 180 transaction currencies, thus enabling the processing of international transactions – NOT exclusively dollars all through the SWIFT system! Twenty-six currencies can be used in the net settlement between Visa International and the participating members, the choice of currency being decided by each member involved in the settlement.
Ever since China began to set up a competition to the Western financial institutions back in 2013, there have been countries in the East dealing with China who have begun to use the CIPS System. That makes perfect sense when you are dealing with China. However, that does not mean that CIPS can compete with the SWIFT System with regard to trade in the West. Japan joining CIPS is by no means to the exclusion of SWIFT.
The SWIFT is an industry-owned limited liability cooperative society set up under Belgian law – not US Law. It is controlled by its member banks (including central banks) and other financial institutions. SWIFT’s business is to supply secure messaging services contributing to greater automation of financial transaction processes and to provide a forum for financial institutions to address issues of common concern in the area of financial communication services.
SWIFT was founded in 1973 by 239 banks from 15 countries. Since then, there has been a steady increase in the number of financial institutions and countries connected to SWIFT. By the end of 2002, more than 7,400 financial institutions from 198 countries were connected. There are three categories of SWIFT users: members (shareholders), sub-members (ie subsidiaries controlled by members) and participants. Members can benefit from all the services offered by SWIFT, whereas participants only have restricted access to a range of services that relates to their business.
SWIFT participants include securities brokers and dealers, investment management institutions, fund administrators, money brokers and various other institutions, mainly from within the securities business. By the end of 2002, SWIFT provided services to 2,203 members, 3,079 sub-members and 2,183 participants. The average daily value of payment messages on SWIFT is estimated to be above €6 trillion. National Bank of Belgium (NBB), which is the central bank of the country in which SWIFT’s headquarters are located, acts as lead overseer of SWIFT, supported by the G10 central banks. The NBB is responsible for the day-to-day oversight relationship with SWIFT – not the Federal Reserve.
Visa International operates through SWIFT and it is a private association owned by 21,000 financial institutions worldwide. It consists of six regional divisions: Asia-Pacific; Canada; Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa (CEMEA); European Union; Latin America & Caribbean; and United States. Membership is limited to deposit-taking financial institutions and to bank-owned organizations operating in the bank card sector, such as Carte Bleue in France and Servizi Interbancari in Italy. The Visa International Base II system clears transactions and facilitates settlement. Visa International supports approximately 180 transaction currencies, thus enabling the processing of international transactions – NOT exclusively dollars! Members can choose to receive their transaction reports in any of these currencies.
Twenty-six currencies can be used in the net settlement between Visa International and the participating members, the choice of currency being decided by each member involved in the settlement. The necessary foreign exchange operations are executed with two banks, one located in London (Barclays) and one in New York (Citibank).
The attempt by China to set up CIPS to compete with the SWIFT System is political and not purely economic. This idea that Japan and China will not participate in SWIFT is absolutely absurd. That would mean even credit cards would not be valid in the West.