The chief of Russia’s state-run oil giant has accused Washington of cynically manipulating its currency to further its own interests, questioning whether the US dollar is still competitive given growing global discontent.
Speaking at the opening of the Russian-Chinese energy business forum on Monday, Igor Sechin of Rosneft said that Moscow and Beijing have “achieved historical success in developing comprehensive cooperation and strengthening comprehensive ties, and the industry is creating the basis for further increasing trade.” Sechin is known to be a close associate of President Vladimir Putin.
The CEO stressed that the trade volumes achieved between the world’s largest nation and the world’s most populous one create opportunities to increase the role of the yuan and the ruble in international transactions. The interest in divesting the dollar comes from what he described as Washington’s misuse of its currency for its own purposes.
He also blasted the US Federal Reserve’s policy of quantitative easing – essentially flooding the global economy with the excess supply of money – thereby reducing the dollar’s attractiveness as the dominant currency of international settlements.
Sechin raised doubts about the safety of the greenback as a means of payment, and argued that “expanding the practice of settlements in national currencies will contribute to greater predictability in the global economy and strengthen the balance of payments of our countries.”
The Rosneft head’s comments come as trade between the neighboring nations has continued to grow, with turnover between Beijing and Moscow for the first nine months of this year amounting to $98.9 billion, 24% higher than the same period in 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Earlier this year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the two states “need to move away from the use of Western-controlled international payment systems.” Moscow’s top diplomat said that the US aims “to limit the technological development opportunities of both the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China.”
In February, Lavrov’s deputy Sergey Ryabkov told the Bloomberg business news outlet that it was essential to “barricade ourselves against the US financial and economic system to eliminate dependence on this toxic source of permanent hostile actions,” and “cut back the role of the dollar in any operations.”
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