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Putin: Let's trade in BRICS currencies

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
From left to right: Vladimir Putin with Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj and Chinese President Xi Jinping as they arrive for the BRICS summit in Ufa. ©AFP

President Vladimir Putin says Russia is interested in using national currencies with other BRICS members after agreeing on such an arrangement with China. 

He made the announcement after meeting leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa in Ufa in the Urals for a summit of BRICS nations.

"I think that such development with India, Brazil and South Africa would be interesting and could no doubt lift the level of trade turnover," Putin said.

The BRICS accounts for almost half the world's population and about one-fifth of global economic output. Member states have established the New Development Bank with an initial capital of $100 billion and an additional pool of $100 billion currency reserves.

"A pool of nominal currency reserves, with capital of $100 billion, will give us an opportunity to react to financial market fluctuations in a timely and appropriate manner," Putin said. 

The Russian leader said the new development bank will begin financing energy projects next year.

"The New Development Bank will be financing large-scale transport and energy projects and industrial development," he said.

Economists see the new bank as a challenge to the domination of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund which are under the US influence.

Putin said BRICS nations will work out a roadmap for investment cooperation by the end of the year when the first projects will be launched.

"We've conducted consultations with our business circles and have already put some 50 projects and business initiatives onto the roadmap," he said.

Putin said initial plans include establishing an energy association and an energy research center.

BRICS talks are being held in parallel with another summit by the leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is attending the summit as a special guest of BRICS. Iran is also an observer member of SCO which consists of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

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