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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The rise of U.S. unilateralism has given new urgency to the perceived need for a world financial order that isn't dominated by America. When China becomes the world's largest economy, will the financial world still be dominated by the dollar, the Treasury and the Fed? Not if China has any say in the matter.

Why it matters: Even when the U.S. can credibly claim to have the best interests of the rest of the world at heart, its allies chafe at the global hegemon's hubris and overreach, especially when it uses the architecture of international financial plumbing to advance its own geopolitical agenda.

  • Just this week, the EU, Russia and China agreed to create a separate payments system that would allow businesses in those countries to trade with Iran.

Already, the Chinese yuan is the third largest of the five currencies that make up the SDR, the closest thing the world has to a global monetary yardstick. Come April 2019, Chinese government bonds (CGBs) will similarly be the third-largest component of the Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate bond index.

CGBs are increasingly proving to be not only attractive investments but also important financial benchmarks, traded on rates desks alongside Bunds, JGBs, and treasuries.

  • CGBs have performed very well this year: While the Citigroup World Government Bond Index has fallen 1.4%, Chinese bonds have rallied, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year CGB falling by about 20 bp.
  • They also have a lot of room to rally further, with the 10-year still trading at a yield of 3.7%. That's extremely high, for a reserve currency: The equivalent numbers in the U.S., Germany and Japan are 3%, 0.5% and 0.1%, respectively.

The bottom line: "The ultimate goal," writes Andrew Capon in an excellent guide to the Chinese government bond market in the latest issue of Euromoney, is for CGBs "to supplant U.S. treasuries as the global benchmark."

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations before leaving office

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

  • The pardons set to be issued before Trump exits the White House will be a mix of criminal justice ones and pardons for people connected to the president, the sources said.
  • CNN first reported this news.

Go deeper: Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.