John Fraher and Joseph Richter
Monday, June 15, 2009
Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said the dollar is in “good shape,” further affirming that there’s no substitute for the world’s reserve currency.
Kudrin rushed to reassure investors of Russia’s confidence in the dollar just days after his boss, President Dmitry Medvedev, questioned its global status, joining China’s central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan in suggesting the world may need another benchmark for settling international debts.
“It’s too early to speak of an alternative,” Kudrin said in an interview two days ago in Lecce, Italy, after meeting officials from the Group of Eight nations.
Kudrin’s comments underscore the dependence of Brazil, China, Russia, and India on the currency of the U.S., the world’s largest economy and a $2.5 trillion export market. Even as some of their leaders questioned the dollar’s status, the four nations increased foreign reserves by more than $60 billion in May to limit their currencies’ gains and support their exports. They now have combined reserves of $2.8 trillion and are among the largest holders of Treasuries.
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“At this point there’s no alternative to the U.S. dollar in terms of deep liquid markets and trading 24-7 globally,” Michael Woolfolk, senior currency strategist at the Bank of New York Mellon in New York, said yesterday in a telephone interview. “Nothing even comes close to the dollar in terms of reserve status.”