... or what's up with Reuters?
[b]G20 not ready yet for new world currency debate[/b]
Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:39pm EDT
By Brian Love - Analysis
PARIS (Reuters) - This week's G20 summit will demonstrate how fast the balance of power is shifting from the old U.S.-led economic order towards emerging market nations, although it is way too early for a productive debate about a new world currency.
Beijing is pushing for more power in key institutions such as International Monetary Fund and, more dramatically, China and Russia are both saying it is now time to consider shifting away from a dollar-dominated world.
While the immediacy of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression may leave little room for conclusive discussion at the summit, Beijing and Russia have already opened the debate about a more fundamental shift in the global economic order.
In one sense, their timing is right, because the entire world is hit by a crisis that snowballed out of the United States.
In another, it is awful because nobody at the G20 summit really wants to fray financial market nerves any further.
"The rich countries are going to have to move over and make room," says Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the Washington-based IMF. "It's not a battle that's won in two hours but it can start at this G20."
Moscow has called outright for the G20 to start looking for alternatives to the dollar as the world's main reserve currency, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev renewed that call over the weekend.
"It is quite obvious that the existing currency system has not coped with the existing challenges," he told the BBC in an interview, relayed by the Kremlin website. www.kremlin.ru
China, key because it is owner of the world's biggest stock of foreign exchange reserves, went public with much the same argument in a speech delivered last week by central bank chief Zhou Xiaochuan.
Does all that mean the idea will start to gain traction any time soon?
Not at the London summit in any case, it seems.
According to an aide of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, it will simply not be discussed by leaders, if only because the summit aim is above all to reassure scared financial markets and voters, not dent the dollar.
"It might be a good thing in the longer term but right now it is perhaps best the dollar doesn't drop too much," said the official.
As for the merits of a new reserve currency though, there is no shortage of economists who think it could make sense.
A UN panel published a report last week which said that an alternative reserve currency system based on the SDR, a unit of account used by the IMF, could help contribute to global financial stability and strength.
Indeed, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who headed the panel, believes such a replacement currency system could feasibly start to be phased in within as little as 12 months, even if he acknowledged that was unlikely.
Stephen Green, a China economist at Standard Chartered bank, says Zhou's speech was a milestone.
"Whether or not the reserve currency question progresses beyond an intellectual debate, it's clear that China has decided the time is ripe to become proactive in the debate," Green said in an investment research note to his bank's clients.
The problem is that despite reaching out to the emerging economic powers, the West is also in essence saying power imposes obligations and that means 'pay up if you want to play up', whether it is China, Russia, Brazil, or Saudi Arabia.
British prime minister and summit host Gordon Brown said as much during a G20 promotion pit-stop in New York recently.
Countries that had built up massive currency reserves, such as China, could afford to put them to better use, he said.
"We've got 7 trillion (dollars) (5 trillion pounds) of reserves around the world. Probably for the sake of financial stability you need maybe only half of these reserves. The rest can actually be far more effective in being used to get growth into your economies."
"If we could find an insurance policy which guaranteed for these countries action in the event of their currency being in difficulty, that in my view would satisfy half the problem that is being raised by China and Russia," he said.
(Editing by Ruth Pitchford)
[b]China backs talks on dollar as reserve -Russian source[/b]
By Gleb Bryanski
MOSCOW, March 19 (Reuters) - China and other emerging nations back Russia's call for a discussion on how to replace the dollar as the world's primary reserve currency, a senior Russian government source said on Thursday. Russia has proposed the creation of a new reserve currency, to be issued by international financial institutions, among other measures in the text of its proposals to the April G20 summit published last Monday.
Calls for a rethink of the dollar's status as world's sole benchmark currency come amid concerns about its long-term value as the U.S. Federal Reserve moved to pump more than a trillion dollars of new cash into the ailing economy late Wednesday.
Russia met representatives of China, India and Brazil ahead of the G20 finance ministers meeting last week, as the big emerging powers seek to up their influence on decisionmaking globally. Their first ever joint communique did not mention a new currency but the source said the issue was discussed.
"They (China) did not formally put forward their position for the G20 summit but unofficially they had distributed their paper regarding the same ideas (the need for the new currency)," the source told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The source said the Chinese paper envisaged the International Monetary Fund's Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) being first assigned a role of a clearing currency on some transactions and then gradually becoming the main global reserve currency. "They said that the role of reserve currency should be given to SDR," the source said.
A U.N. panel of experts is also looking at using expanded SDRs, originally created by the International Monetary Fund in 1969, but now used mainly as an accounting unit within similar organisations as a new reserve currency instead of the dollar.
Currency specialist Avinash Persaud, a member of the U.N. panel, told a Reuters Funds Summit on Wednesday that the proposal was to create something like the old Ecu, or European currency unit, that was a hard-traded, weighted basket.
The SDR and the old Ecu are essentially combinations of currencies, weighted to a constituent's economic clout, which can be valued against other currencies and against those inside the basket.
The Russian source said Moscow was aware that the emergence of the new global currency would not happen overnight and said its goal was to initiate a discussion about it at the G20 summit in London on April 2.
The source said that India did not object to the discussion but was not prepared to take the lead. The source said South Korea and South Africa backed the idea, while developed nations were not "allergic" to it.
"We are not waiting for everyone to say: 'How beautifully it has all been formulated, let's subscribe to it'," the source said. "The main idea is to start a discussion about it."
Russia holds about half of its reserves, the world's third-largest, in dollars, with the rest in euros and pounds. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has called on reserve currency issuers to show more financial discipline.
Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin told reporters on the sidelines of the G20 finance ministers meeting that it would take up to 30 years to create a new super-currency, suggesting there was no unity in Russia on the issue.
President Dmitry Medvedev's top economic aide and G20 sherpa Arkady Dvorkovich is behind the Kremlin's G20 proposals, made public one day after Kudrin returned from England. (Reporting by Gleb Bryanski; editing by Mike Dolan/Patrick Graham)
On another News site this morning they gave "war" as an alternative to fix the Economy.
Russia & China would Love that.