U.S. Tempts Dollar's Fate by Going It Alone, Lazard CEO Says
U.S. isolationism could undermine the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency, Lazard Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Ken Jacobs said.
“To the extent that we have unilateral foreign policy and unilateral trade policy, we’re sort of tempting the world to find an alternative,” Jacobs said in a Bloomberg Television interview aired Thursday. “Probably the greatest demonstration of soft power is the fact that the U.S. has the reserve currency of the world.”
The U.S. dollar has been the international currency of choice for more than half a century because of its stability in global markets. That keeps a lid on borrowing costs in America and helps fund the U.S. budget deficit as trading partners place their dollars in Treasuries. Threats to that status are still far off, Jacobs said, because the main currencies in Europe and China are unlikely replacements.
Still, “there’s enough technology out in the world today with cryptocurrency and changes going on that you can imagine, if you let your mind wander a little bit, that something becomes an alternative in the future,” he said.
While Jacobs struck an optimistic tone about the global economy, he said there are long-term risks to the U.S., including failure to agree on immigration reform needed to boost future economic growth.
Lazard managed more than US$250 billion of assets as of the end of March, and is one of the world’s top 10 merger advisers.