Saturday, June 19, 2010
“Only three, five years ago it seemed like a fantasy” to create a new reserve currency, Medvedev said yesterday in a speech in St. Petersburg, Russia. “Now we are seriously discussing it.”
Medvedev, who has repeatedly called for a supranational currency to match the dollar, said discussions with China are continuing on broadening the global options. Russia sold U.S. Treasuries for a fifth consecutive month in April, the U.S. Treasury Department said June 15. The world may need as many as six reserve currencies, Medvedev said.
“It’s something that’s obviously needed,” he said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. “Developing a financial center in Moscow will considerably help to strengthen the ruble’s position as one of the reserve currencies.”
Medvedev’s comments underline Russia’s ambition to reassert its global power following the financial crisis. Gross domestic product shrank 7.9 percent last year, the worst contraction since the fall of communism in 1991, after the credit crunch sent commodity prices plunging.
If a country wants to alter the world economic order, including the number of reserve currencies, it must become an international financial center, Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer said in an interview yesterday.
“For a currency to be a reserve currency, you have to have capital markets in which you can sell it and buy it very easily,” Fischer said. “New reserve currencies don’t emerge by fiat. They emerge as countries change.”
The ruble and the yuan may by 2015 be added to the basket of currencies that set the value of International Monetary Fund units called special drawing rights, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Global Economist Jim O’Neill said. O’Neill coined the BRIC term in 2001 to describe the four nations -- Brazil, Russia, India and China -- that he estimates will collectively equal the U.S. in economic size by 2020.
The ruble “has as many reasons to be in it as the pound,” he said today in an interview in St. Petersburg. “If Russia really wants to be in it, it’s got to allow people to use it all over the world.”
Allowing the ruble to trade freely is “very important,” O’Neill said.
“Inflation targeting is key,” he said. Without a shift to an inflation targeting regime, the ruble “isn’t going to be part of the SDR. You can’t have it both ways, really, unless the Chinese change the rules, which they might do by the end of this decade. China is going to be so big.”
Russia may “come very close to floating the ruble” in the course of one year to 18 months, Bank Rossii Chairman Sergei Ignatiev said in April. Even so, the central bank doesn’t need to take on legal obligations to stop intervening in the currency market, he said.
The People’s Bank of China today said it will allow more yuan exchange rate flexibility and reform of the exchange-rate mechanism as the nation’s economic recovery has “cemented” after the global financial crisis.
Medvedev said he envisages a new economic hierarchy allowing emerging-market giants such as Russia and China to drive the global agenda as the world emerges from the first global recession since the 1930s.
“We really live at a unique time, and we should use it to build a modern, prosperous and strong Russia, a Russia that will be a co-founder of the new world economic order,” he said.
"Russia Backs Stronger Rivals to Dollar", The Wall Street Journal, June 19, 2010
"Medvedev sees single currency dream in G8 coin gift", Breitbart, July 10, 2009