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Dollar depreciation, Russia's strategy against the United States

he US dollar's economic bloc comprises countries that use the US dollar in foreign exchange reserves, exchanges and, international transactions, and includes economies such as China, India, Russia, and emerging markets.
June 2020
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Morteza Mohammad Alikhani

The US dollar's economic bloc comprises countries that use the US dollar in foreign exchange reserves, exchanges and, international transactions, and includes economies such as China, India, Russia, and emerging markets. The US dollar share accounts for about 63 percent of the world's total central bank foreign exchange reserves. Whereas the share of the euro is 20% and the share of the yuan is 2.5%. The most important criterion for a country's currency to turn into a global currency is the amount of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and that country's economic role in international trade.

The US dollar bloc in two economic ways has caused the dollar demand to grow in global markets: One is the accumulation of foreign exchange reserves in the US dollar and the other is the use of the dollar in trade and commerce. Most emerging economies keep the equal value of their currency with the US dollar within the predetermined currency range under a managed floating exchange rate system. The maintenance of foreign exchange reserves in US dollar is effective not only in the growth of liquidity and bank interest rates but also in the policy and foreign exchange of these countries. The maintenance of foreign exchange reserves in US dollars is effective not only in the growth of liquidity and bank interest rates but also in the policy and transaction in foreign exchange of these countries. Because foreign exchange reserves are considered as "monetary and financial backing" which help the government achieve economic goals. Statistics show that the amount of foreign exchange reserves in the world, especially in the US dollar, is growing. There are many reasons justify why central and private banks keep foreign exchange reserves in US dollar: First, the US financial market is larger and more secure than other countries in terms of magnitude and liquidity. This economic advantage is accompanied by the strength of the US dollar's liquidity to other currencies and assets. Because the balance between the supply and demand of the US dollar in global markets is pervasive and stable. Second, the use of the US dollar in international trade, global trading in oil, gas, gold, and other metals markets, as well as agricultural products have caused global demand for the US dollar to be maintained. The United States has the largest import market, which is why it is attractive for many countries, including developed, emerging markets, and developing countries, which want to increase their share in this market.

US restrictions on Russian financial transactions have been intensified since US sanctions were imposed on Russia in 2014 over the annexation of Crimea to the Russian Federation and continuing tensions in eastern Ukraine. And with it, the probability of risks and legal prosecution of Russian businessmen and companies in the United States that deal and interact with the dollar has increased. In such a circumstance, the Russian government in order to deal with the damages caused by sanctions pursued a policy of reducing dependence on the dollar and using the national currency in foreign trade and commerce to strengthen Russia’s national currency and economy. Russia's central bank by reducing the dollar's share of its international foreign exchange reserves has increased its share of gold, yuan and, euro which in the meantime the Chinese yuan has had the largest growth in Russia's foreign exchange reserves.

Russia has reduced the use of the dollar by approximately 50 percent in trade with countries such as China and India and replaced it with the rouble and the euro. It is also trying to reduce the use of the dollar in trade with other countries, such as European Union members. This is the first time that Russia has been able to lighten the shadow of the dollar in trade with its main export partners. Furthermore, statistics provided by Russia’s Central Bank show that this country has been able to successfully put aside the dollar in trade with BRICS member countries including Brazil, India, China and, South Africa, which are Russia's primary trading partners. Russia has also been able to greatly emphasize the role of the euro in trade with the European Union. In parallel with the exclusion of the dollar from trade exchanges with other countries, the Central Bank of Russia is auctioning and significantly reducing its dollar asset reserves, and its capacity has reached its lowest level in the last 12 years. As reported by the predictions, the euro will soon replace the dollar in Russia's exports to the European Union. Nevertheless, Russia for more than half of its $ 687.5 billion annual trade is still reliant on the dollar, which with less than 5 percent of those transactions are being made with the United States itself.

(The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the IPIS)

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