The possible implementation of a BRICS currency to fight U.S. sanctions and the dollar’s ubiquity in global markets has come under scrutiny. Zhou Weidi, the deputy director of the Institute of Economics and Business Administration Central China Pedagogical University, has commented on this potential currency bloc, which would consist of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Zhou notes that the weaponization of the U.S. dollar has created distrust of the currency, even among Americans, causing countries to consider using alternatives for international trade. While the use of the U.S. dollar presented several advantages in the post-World War II era, the “continuous development of BRICS countries” and the so-called weaponization of the dollar reduced its attractiveness.
While the idea of a BRICS currency bloc is still in its infancy, Russia is one of the largest economies in the BRICS group and has moved to use the Chinese yuan for bilateral settlements as a way of sidestepping U.S. sanctions. Furthermore, the director of the Center of Russian-Central Asian Studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, Qiang Xiaoyun, claims that using the yuan or the ruble in payments is the most promising method of moving away from the Western payment system.
Creating a common currency for transactions among countries of the BRICS bloc was a project that began to gain momentum last year when Russian President Vladimir Putin stated at the China-held BRICS summit that its introduction would target U.S. hegemony. The issuance of such a currency will be discussed during the next BRICS summit, which is scheduled to take place in Durban, South Africa, in August 2023, along with the possibility of including new countries in the bloc.
Though the creation of a regional currency will not immediately substitute the U.S. dollar, Zhou notes that such an introduction will be beneficial to both the member countries and the global economy, stating that, “if, for example, such a regional currency appears by the middle of this century, I think it will stimulate the development of both those countries and the whole world.” Despite being in the early stages, this project has the potential to break U.S. economic domination and shift the power balance in global markets towards BRICS countries.
Overall, the U.S. dollar’s influence has led some countries, including those in the BRICS bloc, to begin considering regional currencies to sidestep U.S. sanctions and shift the power balance in global markets. Despite the challenges and the years of development necessary, the potential benefits of such a currency for both BRICS countries and the global economy could make it imperative for them to consider alternatives to the Western payment system.
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