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Late last week I came across this release from Itar-Tass. In case you can’t place the name, the IT website tells us that this agency is:
The successor to the Soviet TASS news agency, it was re-named in 1992, when Russia proclaimed its sovereignty following the collapse of the USSR. It has retained its status of being the state central information agency.
Needless to say, when Russia’s “state central information agency” talks, I listen. I held the story up and coincidentally, found something that should grab us all. First, the story from Russia:
MOSCOW, March 16 (Itar-Tass) — Russia suggests the G20 summit in London in April should start establishing a system of managing the process of globalization and consider the possibility of creating a supra-national reserve currency or a “super-reserve currency.” The Russian Federation’s proposals for ways out of the ongoing financial and economic crisis and for a post-crisis order of the world financial system have been published on the Kremlin’s website. The proposals have been dispatched to the leadership of the G20 countries, the CIS and international organizations.
The Russian side believes the summit should seek and achieve accord on the main parameters of a new world financial system. It suggests calling an international conference that would produce the basic parameters of a world financial architecture and adopt international conventions regarding a new financial world order.
Russia believes that the “obsolete mono-polar structure of the world economy should give way to a system based on cooperation by several major centers.”
In the sphere of control and supervision Russia suggests drafting and adopting an international agreement setting global standards of control and supervision in the financial sector – a Standard Universal Regulatory Framework (SURF).
Russia calls for reforming the international currency and financial system with the aim to strengthen its stability and control. In that connection the Russian side suggests discussing the possibility of expanding the list of currencies to be used as reserve ones, on the basis of the adoption of agreed measures to stimulate the development of major regional financial centers, and also “the creation of a supra-national reserve currency that will be issued by international financial institutions.”
“It looks expedient to reconsider the role of the IMF in that process and also to determine the possibility and need for taking measures that would allow for the SDRs (Special Drawing Rights) to become a super-reserve currency recognized by the world community,” the document says.
The release goes on to discuss for a new mandate and more resources for the IMF.
Well, now add this piece, posted by Logistics Monster yesterday in a post entitled Quick Note About New Global Currency! Pay Attention!
The post quotes an article from the Financial Times‘ Asia-Pacific section (excerpt):
China calls for new reserve currency
By Jamil Anderlini in Beijing
Published: March 23 2009 12:16 | Last updated: March 23 2009 23:24
In an essay posted on the People’s Bank of China’s website, Zhou Xiaochuan, the central bank’s governor, said the goal would be to create a reserve currency “that is disconnected from individual nations and is able to remain stable in the long run, thus removing the inherent deficiencies caused by using credit-based national currencies”.
I suggest readers get over to Logistics Monster for the full quote from the article, which details the “special drawing rights” that we see mentioned in the Russian Itar-Tass release.
The Russia-China discussions apparently are just megaphones for what’s up at the Official G-20 website (excerpt):
The financial markets and the world economy continue to face serious global challenges and the severity of the crisis and ongoing uncertainties demonstrate the need for urgent action. During the United Kingdoms Chair, the immediate priority will be to gain further agreements for a concerted, co-ordinated international response.
The G-20 will need to send a strong signal that it is prepared to take whatever further actions are necessary to stabilise the financial system and to provide further macroeconomic support. At the same time, the G-20 must commit to maintaining open trade and investment, to avoid a retreat to protectionism, and direct necessary additional support to emerging markets and developing countries.
The G-20 should also lay the foundations to move beyond the crisis to a sustainable recovery. In 2009, it will be important to understand the roots of the international financial crisis and identify the lessons that we can learn to ensure that a crisis of this kind does not happen again. The G-20 should develop proposals that will restore global growth in the medium term, including the unwinding of emergency measures taken in response to the crisis.
Coincidentally, with the proposal to bolster the mandate of the IMF, we see this article from the Chinese news agency,
Hu Xiaolian, vice governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), made the comment during a briefing about President Hu Jintao’s coming visit to the G20 financial summit in Britain, scheduled for April 1 to 2.
“China supports the IMF’s innovative financing attempts, and a more efficient and timely financing mode can effectively ease the IMF’s cash shortage,” said the PBOC’s Hu.
“If the IMF finances itself by issuing bonds, China will actively consider buying” those bonds, Hu stressed.
Of course, the Chinese have already indicated that they are “worried” about U.S. Treasury bonds and a recent China Daily headline reads: “Allure of US Treasuries Set to Fade”…
“Although China is unlikely to massively cut its existing holdings of US Treasuries, it will try to reduce purchases,” said Yu Yongding, president of the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
The table is set.
I’m sure the G-20 will toast the dollar with fond reminiscences…
MEANWHILE, ahead of the G-20 meeting, China is now holding its 10th China Development Forum (excerpt):
Special Report: China Development Forum 2009Special Report: Global Financial Crisis
China has launched plans to expand domestic consumption and promote economic growth. It will try its best to achieve the goal of eight-percent economic growth set for this year, according to Wen.
With timely efforts, the economy in some areas and industries in China is now witnessing better signs, Wen said.
“China can’t achieve self-development without rest of the world,” the Premier said, adding that China hopes to deliver confidence to the world and the world should have faith in the country.
High-level officials, entrepreneurs, scholars and leaders from international and non-governmental organizations attended this year’s forum with the theme of China’s Development and Reform in the Global Financial Turmoil.
Remember the days when other countries sought “closer ties” to the U.S.? Well, Obama wants a “closer relationship” with China.
When these two meet at the G-20 session, who will be setting the pace?
And lest we forget Putin: he’s doing some saber-rattling…
SOCHI, March 23 (RIA Novosti) – Russia will start reviewing its relations with the European Union should Moscow’s interests be ignored, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Monday.
Russia had been effectively excluded from talks at an international investment conference in Brussels on the modernization of the Ukrainian gas pipeline network, adding that the conference, convened by the European Commission, was limited to discussions between Ukraine and the EU.
“If Russia’s interests are ignored, we will also have to start reviewing the fundamentals of our relations,” Putin said. “We would very much like for things not to reach this point.”
Interesting times, indeed…frightening times.
UPDATE March 26, 2009
Treasuries Fall on Supply Concern as Seven-Year Sale Looms
By Dakin Campbell and Susanne Walker
March 25 (Bloomberg) —
The Fed joins central banks in the U.K. and Japan in extraordinary purchases of government debt. U.S. policy makers announced the decision last week to buy $300 billion of government debt in the next six months along with a plan to more than double purchases of housing debt to $1.45 trillion, hoping to reduce rates on home loans.
The dollar fell the most in almost a week against the euro on concern Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner supported a Chinese plan to blunt demand among global central banks for the U.S. currency. The dollar weakened as much as 1.2 percent to $1.3651 per euro, the biggest intraday decline since March 19, before trading at $1.3601 at 4:20 p.m. in New York.
Geithner later affirmed the dollar’s role as the world’s reserve currency.
“The poor communication from the Treasury department has complicated the market for Treasuries,” said Baker Group’s Caughron.
China Optimistic about Hu-Obama London Meeting (CRIEnglish.com report 3/23/09)
Filed under: Current Politics | Tagged: 10th China Development Forum, Barack Obama, China, CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States), credit-based national currencies, CRIEnglish.com, EU, European Commission, European Union, Financial Times, G-20 summit, global super-reserve currency, globalization, IMF bonds, Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Itar-Tass, Logistics Monster, new financial world order, People's Bank of China (PBOC), People's Bank of China governor Zhou Xiaochuan, People's Bank of China vice governor Hu Xiaolian, President Hu Jintao, SDRs (Special Drawing Rights), Standard Universal Regulatory Framework (SURF), supra-national reserve currency, U.S. dollar, U.S. Treasury bonds, Ukrainian gas pipeline, Vladimir Putin, Xinhuanet.com, Yu Yongding | 24 Comments »