BRICS Demand Global Monetary Shake-Up, Greater Influence

Yesterday the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) concluded their summit meeting in Hainan, China. Fear of a weakening dollar and growing US deficits, BRICS called for a new monetary order. They also agreed to form mutual credit lines in their own local currencies. From Reuters:

The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa also called for stronger regulation of commodity derivatives to dampen excessive volatility in food and energy prices, which they said posed new risks for the recovery of the world economy.

Meeting on the southern Chinese island of Hainan, they said the recent financial crisis had exposed the inadequacies of the current monetary order, which has the dollar as its linchpin.

What was needed, they said in a statement, was “a broad-based international reserve currency system providing stability and certainty” — thinly veiled criticism of what the BRICS see as Washington’s neglect of its global monetary responsibilities.

The BRICS are worried that America’s large trade and budget deficits will eventually debase the dollar. They also begrudge the financial and political privileges that come with being the leading reserve currency.

In another dig at the dollar, the development banks of the five BRICS nations agreed to establish mutual credit lines denominated in their local currencies, not the U.S. currency.

The head of China Development Bank (CDB), Chen Yuan, said he was prepared to lend up to 10 billion yuan to fellow BRICS, and his Russian counterpart said he was looking to borrow the yuan equivalent of at least $500 million via CDB.

The BRICS represent the largest and increasingly influential emerging economies of the world. From Forbes:

BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) is already something of a “G5” of non-Western nations. Next week its leaders (China’s Hu Jintao, Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff, Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev, India’s Manmohan Singh, and South Africa’s Jacob Zuma) will set themselves to discuss their joint concerns in international affairs, economics, development, trade, security, etc.

More than anything, the event signals growing intention to coordinate views and act in closer alignment, and press towards future empowerment and responsibility of non-Western world leaders. Political clout has always gone with economic clout, and in this respect the future can be depended on to “rhyme” with the past.

BRICS countries already account for 40% of global population and 20% of global GDP – and they are the nations expected to grow most rapidly in GDP terms in the next decade and beyond, and to provide primary succor to neighbors in their regions.

Hainan 2011 is the third summit of the BRIC countries. The acronym BRIC was coined by Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) in 2001 in a chicken-and-egg prophesy: causing Russia, China, Brazil and India to see their interests as potentially aligned, and politically worth aligning. South Africa was accepted into the group in February.

Here is some text from the Sanya Declaration , jointly-released after the meetings. From Xinhua:

It is the overarching objective and strong shared desire for peace, security, development and cooperation that brought together BRICS countries with a total population of nearly 3 billion from different continents. BRICS aims at contributing significantly to the development of humanity and establishing a more equitable and fair world.

The 21st century should be marked by peace, harmony, cooperation and scientific development. Under the theme “Broad Vision, Shared Prosperity”, we conducted candid and in-depth discussions and reached broad consensus on strengthening BRICS cooperation as well as on promoting coordination on international and regional issues of common interest.

We affirm that the BRICS and other emerging countries have played an important role in contributing to world peace, security and stability, boosting global economic growth, enhancing multilateralism and promoting greater democracy in international relations.


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