Monetary risk refers to a set of risks that may alter the existing monetary system.
In the U.S., the monetary system is made up of the Federal Reserve acting in consort with the U.S. commercial banks. U.S.’ commercial banks augment this money supply through fractional reserve banking and credit creation. The U.S. monetary system interacts with other economies and currency zones to create the international monetary system.
When external risks arise, such as geopolitical risk, systemic risk or macroeconomic risk, the Federal Reserve is forced to alter monetary policy, sometimes in extreme ways. This can have the effect of radically altering the monetary landscape that investors have previously taken for granted.
When the global financial crisis hit in 2008, central banks around the world feared that the international monetary system would collapse, so they coordinated on implementing monetary policy changes. These changes are still reverberating around the world today, because the problems were not fixed, merely postponed.
Since 2008, major monetary authorities such as the U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, the European Central Bank, and the Bank of Japan, have embarked on near zero interest rate policies, debasement of their currencies, and in some cases they have embarked on quantitative easing by buying their country’s treasury bonds. This affects U.S. savers who, instead of being rewarded for saving, are being penalised by the Fed for saving, due to the Fed’s negligible interest rates.
When the U.S. banking system was brought to the brink during the 2008-2009 banking crisis, there was a real risk that the U.S. monetary system could have collapsed. This was a severe monetary shock to the economy and one which was never envisaged for an economy with a banking system as strong as the U.S.
This massive increase in global money supply has created potential inflationary risks, since the rate of inflation is, in a lot of cases, above the rate of return available on bank deposits, and the expansion of the money supply has reduced the purchasing power of the dollar.
The increased money supply has also generated potential asset bubbles in the U.S. stock markets and a similar reoccurring bubble in the US property market.
Gold has been proven to be an inflation hedge and a hedge against the debasement in the value of paper currencies. As inflation rises, gold’s price also rises, and so it retains its purchasing power. Gold is a monetary asset that will help protect U.S. investors from monetary risks over the coming years.
Monetary risk also refers to a loss of confidence in the monetary system and the risk that the existing system will not be able to continue without overhaul or a global reset. There is growing consensus that the era of U.S. dollar as the primary international trade and settlement currency is nearly over, and that a future international monetary system will look significantly different. There is a growing view that a new international system may need to be backed by gold, since only gold can provide the confidence and stability that a new international system requires.