Russia’s Finance Minister Asks BRICS For Non-Dollar Financial Trade Settlement Agreement

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Russia’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has requested from the BRICS group of countries it partners with to arrange trade settlements in their respective currencies and to avoid the use of the US dollar. The BRICS are Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Russia has been expelled from the SWIFT international bank transfer system and is unable to use US dollars to settle accounts. Sanctions have cut Russia off from the global financial system and from nearly half of its gold and foreign exchange reserves, which stood at US$606.5 billion in April.

Siluanov, present at a BRICS ministerial meeting on Friday (April 8th) said that “New sanctions are destroying the foundation of the existing international monetary and financial system based on the U.S. dollar.  This pushes us to the need to speed up work in the following areas: the use of national currencies for export-import operations, the integration of payment systems and cards, our own financial messaging system and the creation of an independent BRICS rating agency.”

These are not new concepts and have been discussed at BRICS Ministerial level before. On a bilateral basis, Brazil’s President Bolsonaro met with Russian President Putin just prior to the Ukraine conflict and as signed off significant trade and investment deals with Russia in both energy and fertilizers. India has already been discussing Ruble-Rupee trade with Russia, while China has stated that trade with Russia will remain ‘normal’ while consistently voting against the imposition or following Western sanctions. South Africa has also been pro-Russia making the potential for the BRICS to agree non-dollar trade between them likely.

Siluanov said “The current crisis is man-made, and the BRICS countries have all necessary tools to mitigate its consequences for their economies and the global economy as a whole.” Intra-BRICS trade accounted for 15% of all global trade in 2019, with some analysts suggesting it could reach 50% of all trade by 2030.

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