The Petroeuro Trade Threatens the Dollar

Oil trading, from Australia to Zambia, operates through the US Dollar. oil pumpsThis oil for Dollars foundation has $3 trillion in storage and circulation around the world. Until a few years ago, everything was working smoothly. In a speech to a Spanish Finance conference, Javad Yarjani, a senior Iranian oil diplomat, said: “It is quite possible that as bilateral trade increases between the Middle East and the European Union, it could be feasible to price oil in Euros. This would foster further ties between these trading blocs by increasing commercial exchange, and by helping attract much-needed European investment in the Middle East.” If either Britain or Norway joins the Euro zone, then the key, Brent benchmark oil, would be priced in Euros. The rising value of the Euro benefits European oil giants, Shell and TotalFinaElf. OPEC member countries have plenty to gain in a Euro system. The Euro zone imports 45% of all Middle East oil. Russia has also entered into negotiations with Germany to establish an exchange to sell oil futures denominated in Euros. The former US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia informed a committee of Congress that “One of the major things the Saudis have historically done, in part out of friendship with the United States, is to insist that oil continues to be priced in Dollars. Therefore, the US Treasury can print money and buy oil, which is an advantage no other country has. With the emergence of other currencies and with strains in the relationship, I wonder whether there will not again be, as there have been in the past, people in Saudi Arabia who raise the question why they should be so kind to the United States.” Meanwhile the Dollar continues to fall against the Euro and other commodities such as gold, while the central banks around the world are shifting their reserve emphasis from the Dollar to the Euro. The Bank of China and the Russian Central Bank are both increasing their holdings of Euros. A mere 5% of Chinese reserves are held in Euros, but more than 20% of its trade is with Europe. Middle Eastern states hold $700 billion of US assets, but virtually none in Euros. A minor shift in this position could wreak havoc on U.S. interests.

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