08:57 GMT28 May 2020
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    Moscow has pointed to a "consistent and strong interest" by countries across Europe, Asia and the Middle East to minimize the use of the dollar in trade, saying the issue was on the agenda in Russia as well. Austrian economist and fund manager Ronald-Peter Stoferle said this process could lead to profound negative consequences for the US.

    Speaking to reporters on Friday, presidential spokesman Dmitri Peskov said that the recent trend toward moving away from the dollar in world trade was "a natural process and reaction of countries, including Russia, to rather unpredictable actions of the United States, which are rather questionable in terms of the norms and rules of international trade."

    Ronald-Peter Stoferle, who gave an interview to Switzerland's Neue Zurcher Zeitung this week, seemed to agree with that assessment, telling the paper that the world was in the middle of a move away from a dollar-centric approach to world trade to a "multi-polar," multicurrency system.

    Stoferle, a managing partner at the Liechtenstein-based investment fund Incrementum AG, explained that while the petrodollar system of world trade established at the end of the Second World War enabled the US to pursue an economic policy that would have crushed the economy of any other country, and accumulate a massive pile of debt, the creeping move away from the dollar, led by Russia and China, threatens to end this state of affairs.

    According to the analyst, President Trump's election, and his "America First" trade policy, may have accelerated this process, with protectionist measures and the Federal Reserve's decision to raise interest rates leading to a tighter global supply of dollars and problems for countries with dollar-denominated debt.

    Meanwhile, Washington's politicized attempts to "weaponize" the dollar against its political adversaries has only accelerated the trend, Stoferle said.

    Pointing to specific efforts by countries to ease dependence on the US, the economist pointed to Russia and China's move to ditch the dollar in favor of ruble- and yuan-denominated trade, and Moscow's recent sell-off of US securities in favor of gold and other assets. Beijing, he noted, has also begun trading yuan-based oil futures, which already account for 7 percent of total oil trade. China's yuan-based trade agreements in Africa, and the offering of yuan-backed gold futures at the Shanghai Gold Exchange are more steps away from dollar hegemony, Stoferle said.

    Ultimately, Stoferle warned that the dollar's "creeping retreat" from its world-reserve currency status may have "massive" negative consequences for the US. This, he argued, may include a significant drop in demand for both the dollar and US government bonds, which would push up inflation and interest rates. China, which holds a whopping $1.18 trillion in US bonds, bills and notes, could drop the obligations if its efforts to convert its oil trade to yuan succeed, which may prompt Middle Eastern oil producers to lose interest in the petrodollar as well.

    On Thursday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced Brussels' plans to promote the euro in international trade, and pointed to the "absurdity" of the fact that Europe pays for 80 percent of its energy imports in dollars, while importing just 2 percent of its energy from the United States. 


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    petrodollar, dollar hegemony, euro, dollar, yuan, trade, ruble, Donald Trump, world, China, United States, Russia
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