Velika večina ljudi seveda ne spremlja in ne posveča nobene pozornosti temu, kar se dogaja med “novimi neuvrščenimi državami“, to je državami iz skupine BRICS (Brazilija, Rusija, Indija, Kitajska in Južna Afrika). Ta grupacija, ki je nastala pred dvema desetletjema, je pred tremi prelomnimi dogodki: (1) pred širitvijo (prošnjo za članstvo je doslej podalo 12 držav, med njimi tudi Savdska Arabija in Iran), (2) pred uvedbo skupne rezervne valute, in (3) pred skupno razvojno banko. Vse troje bo precej pretreslo svetovno gospodarsko in politično ureditev, saj pomeni pospešeno de-dolarizacijo trgovinskih tokov, manj pritoka kapitala v ameriške obveznice in ameriški finančni sektor ter odmik od mednarodnih organizacij, kot sta IMF in WTO za polovico sveta. Razširjen BRICS+ pomeni namreč skupaj 45% svetovnega prebivalstva, tretjino svetovnega BDP, okrog 80% svetovnih rezerv nafte ter večino nahajališč najpomembnejših surovin za industrije prihodnosti.
Gre za dramatičen odmik od povojne ureditve in od ureditve po letu 1990. Izoblikuje se nov svetovni gospodarski in politični pol, ki prinaša svoje prednosti in tveganja. Prednosti so predvsem v tem, da ta ureditev prinaša boljše razvojne možnosti za države v razvoju in zaščito pred ameriškim izsiljevanjem (pred sankcijami in pred zasegom deviznih in zlatih rezerv).
What unites them now is a desire to challenge American hegemony in finance and trade, and to circumvent sanctions. As tensions between the west and China increase and become irrevocably hostile with Russia with its economic sanctions and diplomatic cut-offs, the two want to find an alternative to the dollar.
A common currency, be it a reserve currency, would not only help circumvent the sanctions. There are also benefits for trade. Intra-Brics trade as a percentage of world trade was around 10% in 2017. Politically, this prospect has become more feasible under the newly elected Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil, who has his own misgivings towards the US. India, too, has a new agenda. India doubled its GDP over the past decade and is looking to become a major geopolitical actor in its own right. The Brics group may become a platform to do this.
The Western compulsion to isolate countries when they do something wrong creates incentives for those countries to think of alternative structures. Maybe the Brics will succeed. They are the largest group amongst those mulling alternatives, and they are getting organised. Over the past years they have held talks with some Middle Eastern actors and developed a Brics Plus format for new members to join. Brics Plus offers countries alternatives when it comes to trade, energy, and now also finance. The institutionalisation is still weak, and India still opposes the push to give it an anti-Western face. But there is momentum happening. There are already 12 states lined up to join the group. Iran is one of them. Turkey, Saudi Arabia and UAE have expressed their interest in joining, according to the Middle East business media Albawaba.
A reserve currency would challenge Western dominance more directly. There are also plans to strengthen the role of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) as well as the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). This would constitute a move away from the IMF and the World Bank for most of the BRICS members, especially China.
Tveganja de-dolarizacije pa zajemajo predvsem možno večjo finančno nestabilnost (ni sicer nujno, saj se je Kitajska izkazala, da bolj menedžira krize od ZDA, hkrati pa nima decentraliziranega finančnega sistema, ki po principu kobilic ustvarja in širi globalne finančne krize) in razlike v inflacijskih stopnjah (ker se nabava inputov fakturira v drugi valuti kot prodaja končnih izdelkov). Poslovni sektor se mora seveda pred tem zavarovati, in sicer tako da lokalizira oziroma regionalizira svoje nabavno-produkcijske verige.
Pred nami so zanimivi časi, na katere se je treba dobro strateško pripraviti. Upajmo, da se Evropa ne bo vključila v ameriško all-out strateško vojno proti novemu bloku, pač pa da boznala obdržati ekvidistanco in intenzivno gospodarsko in politično sodelovanje z obema blokoma. Make trade, not war.
On Valentine’s Day in 1945, US president Franklin Delano Roosevelt met Saudi King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud on the American cruiser USS Quincy. It was the beginning of one of the most important geopolitical alliances of the past 70 years, in which US security in the Middle East was bartered for oil pegged in dollars.
But times change, and 2023 may be remembered as the year that this grand bargain began to shift, as a new world energy order between China and the Middle East took shape.
While China has for some time been buying increasing amounts of oil and liquefied natural gas from Iran, Venezuela, Russia and parts of Africa in its own currency, President Xi Jinping’s meeting with Saudi and Gulf Co-operation Council leaders in December marked “the birth of the petroyuan”, as Credit Suisse analyst Zoltan Pozsar put it in a note to clients.
According to Pozsar, “China wants to rewrite the rules of the global energy market”, as part of a larger effort to de-dollarise the so-called Bric countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China, and many other parts of the world after the weaponisation of dollar foreign exchange reserves following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
What does that mean in practice? For starters, a lot more oil trade will be done in renminbi. Xi announced that, over the next three to five years, China would not only dramatically increase imports from GCC countries, but work towards “all-dimensional energy co-operation”. This could potentially involve joint exploration and production in places such as the South China Sea, as well as investments in refineries, chemicals and plastics. Beijing’s hope is that all of it will be paid for in renminbi, on the Shanghai Petroleum and Natural Gas Exchange, as early as 2025.
That would mark a massive shift in the global energy trade. As Pozsar points out, Russia, Iran and Venezuela account for 40 per cent of Opec+ proven oil reserves, and all of them are selling oil to China at a steep discount while the GCC countries account for another 40 per cent of proven reserves. The remaining 20 per cent are in regions within the Russian and Chinese orbit.
Those who doubt the rise of the petroyuan, and the diminution of the dollar-based financial system in general, often point out that China doesn’t enjoy the same level of global trust, rule of law or reserve currency liquidity that the US does, making other countries unlikely to want to do business in renminbi.
Perhaps, although the oil marketplace is dominated by countries that have more in common with China (at least in terms of their political economies) than with the US. What’s more, the Chinese have offered up something of a financial safety-net by making the renminbi convertible to gold on the Shanghai and Hong Kong gold exchanges.
While this doesn’t make the renminbi a substitute for the dollar as a reserve currency, the petroyuan trade nonetheless comes with important economic and financial implications for policymakers and investors.
For one thing, the prospect of cheap energy is already luring western industrial businesses to China. Consider the recent move of Germany’s BASF to downsize its main plant in Ludwigshafen and shift chemical operations to Zhanjiang. This could be the beginning of what Pozsar calls a “farm to table” trend in which China tries to capture more value-added production locally, using cheap energy as a lure. (A number of European manufacturers have also increased jobs in the US because of lower energy costs there.)
Petropolitics come with financial risks as well as upsides. It’s worth remembering that the recycling of petrodollars by oil-rich nations into emerging markets such as Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Zaire, Turkey and others by US commercial banks from the late 1970s onwards led to several emerging market debt crises. Petrodollars also accelerated the creation of a more speculative, debt-fuelled economy in the US, as banks flush with cash created all sorts of new financial “innovations”, and an influx of foreign capital allowed the US to maintain a larger deficit.
That trend may now start to go into reverse. Already, there are fewer foreign buyers for US Treasuries. If the petroyuan takes off, it would feed the fire of de-dollarisation. China’s control of more energy reserves and the products that spring from them could be an important new contributor to inflation in the west. It’s a slow-burn problem, but perhaps not as slow as some market participants think.
What should policymakers and business leaders do?If I were chief executive of a multinational company, I’d be looking to regionalise and localise as much production as possible to hedge against a multipolar energy market. I’d also do more vertical integration to offset increased inflation in supply chains.
Vir: Financial Times
Ja, Poszar je že pred meseci povzročil pravo histerijo. Ob tem pa je svet povsem prezrl novico, da strokovno ekipo BRICS za pripravo alternativnega finančnega sistema vodi prof. Glazyev bivši Putinov svetovalec za ekonomsko politiko.
Kar daje vojni v Ukrajini povsem novo dimenzijo.
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