President Vladimir Putin has raised the ante in Russia’s bid to cut dependence on the dollar, urging greater use of the national currency, the ruble, in oil deals.
Russian leaders, whose country is a top crude exporter, have already proposed to carry out oil trade operations in currencies other than the dollar, such as China’s yuan.
Addressing oil executives and government officials in the Kremlin, Putin renewed the call, saying national currencies should be widely used in operations with the countries with which Russia is actively trading
“A serious consideration of the complex issue of enhancing the ruble’s role in settlements, including in the energy sector, should be started,” Reuters quoted him as saying.
Moscow’s plans to cut transactions in the dollar have found added momentum in the wake of Western sanctions which restrict Russia’s access to international capital.
In September, Putin proposed a bill to the country’s legislature to eliminate the dollar and the euro from trade between member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
“This would help expand the use of national currencies in foreign trade payments and financial services and thus create preconditions for greater liquidity of domestic currency markets,” a Kremlin statement said then.
Members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) – Russia, Belarus, Armenia and Kazakhstan – have already signed an agreement to switch to their national currencies.
Iranian officials have also announced that a mechanism for transactions in national currencies with Russia was already in place.
Russia has proposed similar systems with Vietnam and Indonesia, Turkey and Egypt.
Meanwhile, the country has banned imports of fruit, vegetables, fish and dairy products from Europe, the US, Canada and Australia in retaliation.