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Oil’s dollar pricing ‘under review’

October 8th, 2009

dollarGulf states have held secret talks with Russia, China, Japan and France to replace the US dollar with a basket of currencies in the trade of oil, the UK’s Independent newspaper says.

The report by Robert Fisk, the newspaper’s Middle East correspondent, was published on Tuesday and cited unidentified sources in Gulf Arab states and Chinese banking sources in Hong Kong.

Fisk said the proposal was for trade in crude oil to move over nine years to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for countries in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar.

“Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars,” the report said.

It said that France had also been involved in the talks.

The Independent said US authorities were aware that the meetings had taken place but had not discovered the details and were “sure to fight this international cabal”.

Inverse relation

The issue of shifting oil trade away from the US dollar has been raised occasionally in recent years, but analysts and experts say it is unlikely to occur any time soon.

“I don’t think we will see much concrete actions coming out of such discussions because even when the dollar is weak, it doesn’t mean that commodities are undervalued,” David Moore, a commodities analyst at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, said.

“In fact, when the dollar weakens, commodities prices tend to increase by a higher ratio.”

Iran began settling most of its crude oil exports in non-dollar currencies, primarily the euro, several years ago, but the actual price for its oil is still set in dollar terms.

The US dollar dipped in the wake of the report, with analysts cautious about reading too much into it, particularly given the nine-year time frame.

The euro edged up to $1.4691 from $1.4662 before the news broke, while the dollar eased to 89.00 yen from 89.40.

http://english.aljazeera.net


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