Accepting payment in RMB, Russia surpasses Saudis as China’s biggest oil supplier

A giant step toward dedollarizing world trade

by Don Hank

In October of 2014 I lambasted US media here for refusing to alert Americans on the dedollarization scheme of non-aligned countries. Readers either didn’t discuss this with me or they told me the world would always prefer the dollar.

Then in December of 2014, renewamerica.com posted my translation of an eye-popping interview with a Chinese monetary policv expert who clearly showed that our allies, eg, in Europe, were busy setting up RMB (yuan) clearing centers, a clear sign that they believed in the future of the yuan in world trade. Again, my readers snoozed through this and the usual subjects said the yuan would never be accepted in international trade. Period.

In March of this year, I wrote a disturbing article here showing that a 1973 agreement with the Saudis obliging them to charge only USD for their oil exports was most likely the most important pillar propping up the US dollar and that if the Saudis ever reneged on this agreement, there would be little support for the USD.

In april of this year, I showed here that almost all US allies had turned their backs on the US-run World Bank and IMF by joining the Chinese-led AIIB. I told them the US could not compete with the AIIB because it was bullying it clients, for example, into accepting gay sex and privatization. At the end of the article, I warned that the “petroyuan” might be on the way. I got little reaction but again, normalcy bias led some to tell me I was worried for nothing.

The RMB has made a lot of progress in dedollarizing world trade and obviously, this is because ordinary Americans don’t see or don’t want to see it coming and the media refuse to talk about it. Therefore politicians and the Fed will do nothing about it. And now that it is too late, they are bitterly flailing about at the rest of the world.

But now we are at the talking stage regarding dedollarization. I now see an increasing number of articles in the Western press candidly admitting that the RMB is being used more and more in world trade. The latest event in this series is Russia’s acceptance of the RMB for oil payment in such a way that Russia has snatched the title of top supplier from none other than the Saudis, who seem to have made accommodations for this by raising Asian oil prices. Thus, without literally reneging on the 1973 agreement, they have made it easy for the Russians and Chinese to dedollarize, thereby cleverly circumventing the agreement.

I have also commented here and here showing beyond that shadow of a doubt that Russia had been helped more than harmed by US-imposed sanctions. These too garnered criticism from highly educated people including investment experts and authors who think the dollar is still sound as a you-know-what.

The story appears below in my translation from the Chinese journal finance.sina. The information reported here can also be found piecemeal in English in the msm.

Translation of http://finance.sina.com.cn/money/future/futuresnyzx/20150625/082522513216.shtml

Accepting payment in RMB, Russia surpasses Saudi Arabia as largest supplier of crude to China

At 8:25 on June 25, 2015 article business community favorites

Business community June 25

According to the Energy website Fuelfix.com, with the Chinese oil market share battle heating up, Russia has become China’s largest crude oil supplier (45.70, -0.24, -0.52%), surpassing Saudi Arabia.

According to e-mailed data from China’s General Administration of Customs on Tuesday (June 23), China’s imports from Russia in May amounted to 3,920,000 tonnes of oil, equivalent to 927,000 barrels a day, a record high, or an increase of 20 percent MoM, while imports from Saudi Arabia decreased by 42% to 3.05 million tons of oil compared to April.

The surge in domestic production of shale oil reduces US dependence of the US, the world’s largest oil consuming country, on foreign oil supplies, making China an important market for the world’s oil-exporting countries. The IEA [International Energy Agency] forecast in June of 2015 that Chinese oil demand will account for over 11% of global oil demand.

Chief oil analyst Amrita Sen of oil and gas analyst Energy Aspects said in an email: “As the Middle East oil was obliged to contend with competition from other parts of the oil market, Asia has become the darling of Russian oil exporters. Russia is paying increasing attention to its east, where its largest oil producer Rosneft has made a wide variety of transactions with China and is is likely to make more steady inroads for Russian oil into China.”

Supply from Russia increases thanks to acceptance of payment in RMB

Gordon Kwan, Head of Regional Oil & Gas Research at Nomura Securities commented in an e-mail on China’s currency: “After Russia begins to accept renminbi as a payment method for the purchase of oil, we expect to see more Russian oil exported to China. If Saudi Arabia wants to return to the throne, it needs to accept renminbi as payment for oil, not only the US dollar.”

Since Western countries imposed sanctions on Russia in the dispute between Russia and Ukraine, Russia has been looking for new markets for its oil. As a result of these efforts, Russia has become China’s largest oil supplier for the first time since October 2005. In 2013, Rosneft and China National Petroleum Group signed a $270 billion deal, with the former agreeing to supply 365 million tons of oil to the latter over the next 25 years. That year, Rosneft reached an $85 billion ten-year agreement with China Petroleum & Chemical Group.

Angola to China’s second-largest supplier of crude oil

In May, Russia was not the only oil-exporting country to surpass Saudi Arabia.

Data show that in May Angola sold 3.26 million tons of oil to China, an increase of more than 14%, becoming China’s second largest oil supplier. In the past 13 months, Saudi Arabia has lost its title as China’s largest oil exporter for the first time.

China General Administration of Customs data also show that Iran exported 2.2 million tons of oil to China. Iran had previously estimated that during the international sanctions, it could double its global oil sales within six months, and the international sanctions expires on June 30.

Saudi Arabia raised the price of oil supplied to Asia

In April, Saudi Arabia exported 5.26 million tons of oil to China, reaching the highest level since July 2013, capturing more of the Chinese oil market.

It is reported that, in the past four months, Saudi Arabia has raised the price of oil supplied to Asia. According to a public statement issued by Saudi Aramco, in July the price of Arab light crude and medium crude has been set to the highest level in 10 months.

Energy consultancy SCI International analyst Gao Jian told us on the phone: “Russia has used its good relations with China to increase oil supplies to that country to become China’s largest supplier of oil.  At the same time, since Saudi Arabia’s oil price is less attractive in Asia, it loses the title.”

Translated by Don Hank

Russian sanctions hurt (II)

Russian sanctions hurt (II)

 

by Don Hank

I have shown in a previous commentary that sanctions against Russia have really hurt. But not the Russians. They boomeranged on the US. How? By strengthening economic and military relations between Russia/Eurasian region and the rest of the world (eg, the accession of almost all US allies to the AIIB), military and economic coalition with China, lucrative contracts with the Saudis, India, etc.

As the icing on the cake, today I was translating an article in the Chinese economic daily finance.sina.com which shows that Russia in June sold a record amount of oil to China, and this, according to the article, for two reasons:

1—The Saudis obligingly raised their Asian benchmark oil prices selectively for Asia only, giving Russia the edge as an oil seller. (See the below time line for clues as to why the Saudis did this).

2—These oil deals with China are settled in yuan (RMB) making them more attractive to China in terms of both monetary policy (strengthening the RMB) and economics.

The latter fact is bad news for the dollar. The main thing propping up the USD is country-to-country trade settled in USD. The whole purpose of the petrodollar agreement with the Saudis in 1973 was to oblige them to accept payment only in USD for the purpose of maintaining an artificially high value of the dollar. Now Saudi Arabia itself is in fact sabotaging that deal, while sticking to the letter of it. This was a stroke of genius on someone’s part, and I think that someone was Russian President Putin.

Look at what Putin had been up to since no later than the end of 2014:

Timeline of Russia-Saudi negotiations.

1—December 2014, Putin meets with Saudi Intel Chief in Moscow

http://en.trend.az/world/arab/2218066.html

2—April 2015 King Salman bin Abdulazziz el-Saud calls Putin, sets up visit in June. (Was this motivated by the outcome of the Dec meeting?)

http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/49304

3—June 2015, Saudis raise benchmark oil price for Asia

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/05/us-saudi-oil-price-idUSKBN0OL04720150605

4—June 2015, Russia signs 6 nuclear energy contracts with the Saudis (quid pro quo for the raised Asian oil prices?)

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/06/19/uk-saudi-russia-nuclear-idUKKBN0OZ10R20150619

5—July 2015, Russia announces sale of Iskander missiles to Saudis (more quid pro quo for the raised Asian oil prices?)

http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2015/07/04/418758/Russia-Saudi-Arabia-Iskander-missile-Yemen

There are no coincidences in events involving Russia. The tit-for-tat here is obvious. The Saudis got beefed up defenses and nuclear energy deals. Russia got a chance to sell more oil. Of course, for obvious reasons, the paper trail here omits the main details. The Saudis never disclose all the details of their agreements with other countries. But anyone who pays attention and knows what to look for can easily extrapolate the hidden details of these bargains.

Watch for more surprises soon.

As Donald Trump said: The decision makers in US policy are stupid.

Don Hank

 

PS: Speaking of stupid policy, did you happen to read about that fist fight that broke out in the Japanese Parliament over the latest change in the Japanese constitution allowing their armed forces to join with the US in its military adventures? An increasing number of Japanese are waking up to the insanity of US military policy and want nothing to do with US wars designed to be lost. Yet establishment thugs managed to pass this potentially disastrous piece of legislation, almost certainly under pressure from the war hawks in Washington.

Russian and US tactics are as different as day and night. Russia makes offers that tempt and reward. The US applies pressure and threats to punish.

Which side is winning?

Russian Sanctions hurt

Sanctions against Russia hurt

 

Don Hank

 

A reader tells me that the sanctions against Russia have been hurting them financially.

This is the perception throughout the West so far, unless you read reports from off the beaten trail. And then you see can easily through the lies.

You see, Western oligarchs are focused on keeping the world poor while robbing the little guy, and that is becoming an open secret. Eastern leaders can see this as a huge opportunity for doing business in ways that make everyone richer and better off. All they need to do is avoid the clumsy mistakes of the US oligarchs, and that is easy.

I have been forwarding articles showing that sanctions are not hurting Russia at all. They are gaining ground much faster than we are. Almost every one of our allies turned their backs on the World Bank (US based and led) and went over to the Chinese AIIB. This is a step toward dedollarization of world trade, which the Western press ignores pointedly (I pointed this out here http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/hank/141009)

In fact, the drop in the ruble is a huge boon for Russia, enabling them to sell more competitively to trade partners.

Then the Saudis struck deals with Russia for more powerful arms than we had ever sold them. That too is money in Russia’s bank.

Then about a week ago, almost every Middle Eastern leader met with Putin in Moscow, showing that they are pivoting away from the US and trusting Russia. For Putin that was like taking candy from a baby, because when a country’s government and oligarchs have cheated and lied repeatedly, eventually no lone trusts them. And that government is Washington.

In June Russia broke a record, selling more oil to China than the Saudis ever had sold them! The trade with China bypasses the dollar, using RMB only. Another major step toward dedollarization and loss of prestige for the dollar.

The Saudis are cooperating by charging more for their oil sold to Asia than is sold to the West. This helps Russia tremendously and is a clear signal that those closed door deals with the Saudis involved concessions to Russia in exchange for those weapons deals.

Now Russia is making deals with India for joint oil projects. These will almost certainly be denominated in currencies other than the dollar, another step in devaluing the USD.

Then there is the New Silk Route, a joint project with China to connect far flung regions for trade. Will the trade deals be in dollars? What do you think?

Rather than harming Russia, the sanctions drove them into the arms of our one-time allies. I don’t think they are coming back. My communications with Europeans shows they no longer trust the US, particularly since the bogus US subprime paper sold all over Europe, which set the stage for the current crisis there. Virtually every educated European knows this and, while their leaders remain discrete, they are waiting patiently for Washington to fall.

Russia’s new deals and sales of arms and oil are an indirect product of our sanctions and Russia is stronger now in trade and in world prestige than it ever was before.

Sanctions not only failed but they wound up greatly strengthening Russia!

The old Wolfowitz policy of encircling Russia has failed miserably as any fool knew it would. Russia is quickly emerging as the winner. Our policy makers are, to paraphrase Trump, STUPID!

It all reminds me of the Japanese emperor Hirohito in the last days of the war. He refused to believe that Japan could lose, even after the first nuke fell on one of his cities.

So the US dropped another.

Each of Putin’s actions is like one of those nukes, greatly curtailing US strength and prestige. Yet, Washington, caught in a paroxysm of normalcy bias, continues to forge ahead with its horrible policies, somehow convincing itself that it will win.

Let us hope and pray that whoever is elected our next president will start reversing these disastrous fraudulent foreign and financial policies that make America poor and garner the ridicule of nations.

And you know what? He may not have much choice.

Chinese monetary policy expert spills the beans, but not to the West

Warning from top Chinese monetary policy maker

My translation of a report in Economic Daily (Jingji Ribao) on the July 20, 2014 interview with Chen Yulu re. RMB internationalization follows below.

Note: RMB is the acronym for China’s national currency, the renminbi, also known as the yuan (not to be confused with the Japanese yen). Renmin means “the People” in Chinese, while “bi” means currency – hence, the People’s currency.

Background: As of 2013, the RMB has been convertible in current accounts (but not capital accounts). Until then, if you wanted to convert the RMB into one of the non-dollar currencies, you generally had to first convert your RMB into dollars, a cumbersome process that discouraged investors from making many transactions.

Why I decided to translate this article:

I first found this article in a Japanese language translation and decided to find the original, linked below.

Not at all surprisingly, I found no translation of it into English anywhere (except for an atrocious machine rendition that does not merit the descriptor “translation”). Why no surprise? I had already had experience with the huge black holes in the Western financial press, as reported here (the term “dedollarization” in that report is for all intents and purposes synonymous with “RMB internationalization”as used hereinbelow).

Why this article was not run in the Western press:

While many of the facts cited by Mr. Chen are to be found in the Western press and also in English language articles posted in China (for example, by the Bank of China), the time frames of Mr. Chen’s predictions of the RMB’s internationalization growth differ shockingly even from those reported in Chinese publications posted in English. Obviously, the Chinese don’t dare tell us the truth and I can’t blame them.

Mr. Chen tells his Asian audience that the RMB internationalization index (RII) will exceed that of all currencies except the US dollar and the euro within anywhere from 3 to 5 years, whereas other forecasts in English language journals estimate that time frame at 15 or more years. The idea seems to mitigate what most will see as bad news and to avoid any counter-measures from the Western central bankers (although it could be that they are also in on the plot). It strikes me that if Mr. Chen were just spouting hype to sell the rmb, then he and the rest of the economic bosses, eg, at the Bank of China, would post these things in English. But since they post them only in Chinese (and also allowed on Japanese site to post a translation of this interview), it seems that the West is being kept in the dark. The fact that rmb clearing centers are opening all over Europe is also an important, and ominous clue as to what is happening behind the curtain. One could make the case that the vast majority of our ‘allies’ are in fact quietly sabotaging the dollar. And if you were a European and your finances had been wrecked by the US derivatives bubble, you  would understand the sentiment behind that. In fact, the sanctions against Russia also dealt Europe a dangerous blow, and yet, their governments don’t dare defy Washington and go their own way. Think about it. France’s BNP Paribas was fined by the US for a misdemeanor that is perfectly legal in Europe and they lost 9 billion dollars to an increasingly ruthless hegemon. Who today is truly sympathetic to the US government?

The World Bank had estimated in 2013 that China’s economy “will become the [world’s] largest by 2030.” Well, that happened last week. Can you see that we are being kept in the dark? 

This article was translated by an ordinary citizen (who happens to be a professional translator) free of charge, for both investors and ordinary middle class citizens who will need to be prepared for a collapse of the dollar sooner than most would expect, at least if we trust the media that are being paid good money to prepare us but refuse to do so or are perhaps also hapless victims of normalcy bias.

Finally, while Mr. Chen says the RMB is not intended to challenge the dollar, now that the Chinese economy exceeds ours, guess what will happen to the dollar once the RMB internationalization index surpasses the dollar’s.

Hint: the main ingredient in the value of any currency is trust. Western monetary policy aims at 2% annual inflation and cheekily calls that “stabilization,” routinely causes bubbles in various markets and fosters the creation of essentially worthless derivatives denominated in the US dollar. Chinese policy has, so far at least, not fallen into anything resembling this kind of irresponsible behavior. European markets were hit hard by this corrupt US monetary policy and they are not happy. This is, in my judgment, why the RMB clearing centers have been established all over Europe (as well as elsewhere) but not in the US, whose investors apparently want to go down with their own ship.

I am convinced that all or most of our allies have lost all trust in the US government and are quietly deserting the ship.

My only question is: what took them so long?

Don Hank

Author’s email: zoilandon@msn.com

http://finance.sina.com.cn/money/forex/20140722/054019778623.shtml

Internationalization of the RMB is not a challenge to other currencies

05:40, July 22, 2014 Economic Daily, I have something to say (11 participants)

Staff reporter: Zhang Wei Zhang Lichen

On July 20, the Renmin University of China issued the “2014 Renminbi (6.1546, 0.0044, 0.07%) internationalization report,” which shows that in 2013 the rmb internationalization index (RII) further accelerated. The report notes that the internationalization of the RMB is not intended to challenge the US dollar or other international currencies; the renminbi is taking on more international monetary functions, rooted in the internal demands of the international market.

Since the beginning of 2012, the People’s [Renmin] University of China has been releasing a series of annual research reports on the internationalization of the RMB, and has proposed an RMB internationalization Index (RII), which objectively describes of the extent of Chinese yuan use in overall international economic activities. The index not only tracks trends in 3 areas, namely, global renminbi-denominated trade, financial transactions and foreign exchange reserves, but enables a convenient horizontal comparison with other major international currencies. On July 20, upon release of the “2014 RMB internationalization Report,” Economic Daily reporters on issues relating to the internationalization of the RMB were granted an exclusive interview with Chen Yulu, a member of the Central bank Monetary Policy Committee and president of Renmin University of China.

According to data in a recently released report, by the end of 2013, the RII reached 1.69, as compared to 0.92 at the beginning of the year, a gain of 84%. What is the reason for this rapid growth?

Chen Yulu: The RMB internationalization Index (RII) accelerated further in 2012, due to high-growth, reaching 1.69 by the end of 2013. In contrast, over the same period the international status of the dollar remained stable, while the euro, and British pound rose only moderately, and the internationalization of the yen declined slightly.

This is because China is number one in global trade, and currently has the world’s second largest FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) inflows and the third largest direct investment outflows. In cross-border trade, more and more companies are using RMB settlement. In 2013 the share of trade in goods settled in RMB exceeded 10%. In terms of investment, foreign direct investment in RMB 448.13 was billion while overseas direct investment amounted to 85.61 billion RMB, the total reached 1.9 times over the same period last year. This is the main reason for the rapid growth in the RII.

According to the latest data, in 2014, the first and second quarter RII’s were 1.74 and 1.96, respectively. By the end of this year, based on a conservative estimate, the RII is expected to climb to 2.40. Following system reform and the release of dividend policy, RMB direct investment and credit in international markets will significantly increase. If the  BRICS Development Bank and the China Latin America Cooperation Forum proceed smoothly, an optimistic forecast for the RII by the end of 2014 might be in excess of three. Barring any major adverse events, the international use of the renminbi will exceed the levels of the yen and the British pound in anywhere from 3 to 5 years, with the RMB becoming the world’s third largest currency after the dollar and the euro.

The accelerated process of RMB internationalization seems to suggest a challenge to the status of dollar, the euro and other international currencies. What do you think?

Chen Yulu: The internationalization of the RMB is not going to challenge the dollar or other international currencies. In fact, the RMB is assuming more international monetary functions as a result of internal demand in the international market. In particular, the international financial crisis in 2008 demonstrated that there are significant contradictions in the current international monetary and financial landscape. For example, the United States accounts for 20% of the global total economy, but supplies 52% of international currency as a public good. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. In the last two years, a number of international financial centers in Europe have been actively showing intensive demand for RMB-traded products, and have signed RMB clearing agreements with China. This shows that the RMB internationalization is a phenomenon that has developed in response to adjustments in international economic and trade patterns, with the chief motivation coming from international market demand. China’s push can be seen as an echo of this demand.

Secondly, China has become the world’s second largest economy, and this entails a greater responsibility and obligation to provide global public goods, including the response to the global liquidity shortage. Thus it has become the lender of last resort, participating in global currency market rate pricing, establishment of a stable international currency exchange rates system and so on. Due to China’s own increased economic strength, this is the default option for creating a stable monetary and financial environment for global economic development.

We also need to note that the yuan is far from becoming a core international currency, and does not pose a threat to the status of the dollar or the euro. Therefore, we need to consider the larger pattern and see the internationalization of the RMB as a natural response to adjustments in the international economic and financial situation, without assigning it too many other interpretations.

Currently, the establishment of offshore markets is the main thrust of the RMB internationalization process. Can you give us an overview of the global offshore RMB market? How will it impact the development of Chinese enterprises and financial institutions

Chen Yulu: Hong Kong is still the world’s largest offshore yuan market, where we find not only the most important clearing platform of cross-border trade in RMB, but also the largest pool of offshore renminbi funds. The central government has expressed clear support for entering a new stage of domestic development following the construction of offshore financial centers in Hong Kong. Elsewhere in Asia, in addition to Singapore and Taiwan and Macau, Seoul has followed suit with the signing of an RMB clearing agreement.

A number of international financial centers in Europe, such as London, Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Paris and Zurich are actively expressing the desire to establish offshore financial centers. This year, China signed RMB clearing agreements with Germany, Britain, France, Luxembourg and other countries. This is likely to cause a reversal, with the size of the European market lagging significantly behind Asia. In addition, almost all international financial centers are being established on fears of falling behind in the offshore renminbi business. This means that in addition to Asian high yield and European new markets, the RMB offshore market development will be a fast-growing trend in the global situation.

From a domestic perspective, the offshore market provides domestic enterprises new financing channels, and allows companies to take advantage of low-cost funds in overseas markets, solving difficult financing problems; at the same time, it also provides a financing platform for enterprises “going offshore,” and is conducive to fostering international competitiveness in local multinational companies. In addition, the offshore market can encourage Chinese financial institutions to accept otherwise-daunting international competition, improve service levels and innovation capacity as quickly as possible, and for China’s benefit, create favorable conditions for carrying forward capital account reform.

What challenges is the establishment of current offshore yuan markets facing?

Chen Yulu: Right.  Although the establishment of offshore renminbi markets is accelerating, some of the main obstacles must be overcome as quickly as possible. First, we  lack an efficient, secure and cost-effective offshore renminbi clearing system. This affects the willingness of domestic and foreign enterprises and financial institutions to use the renminbi and restricts the scope of offshore renminbi transactions. We need to set up a global offshore RMB clearing system of international scope as soon as possible, transforming it into a gross settlement system functioning in real time corresponding to the operating time.

Second, the current legal framework for offshore RMB market system has not yet been established. The establishment of the offshore RMB market must tackle conflicts in the field of international law, improving as soon as possible the terms of confidentiality, and implementing strict anti-money laundering procedures to curb the use of offshore financial centers to achieve illicit transfer of funds abroad. We also need to strengthen tax collection of international taxes on Chinese territory, to combat tax evasion and prevent loss of tax revenue.

Third, the offshore renminbi financial product chain and financial service capabilities of financial institutions are not yet ideal. The offshore business of Chinese financial institutions in general is still restricted to the traditional deposits, loans and international settlement business. There is an urgent need to achieve breakthrough innovation in financial product development. In addition to requiring more Chinese financial institutions to take on added functions, we must also encourage foreign financial institutions to develop businesses and innovative products.

Fourth, once the offshore financial market reaches a certain size, it will impact on the mechanism of onshore market interest rate and exchange rate formation, which may weaken the effectiveness of monetary policy, creating new challenges for the domestic financial regulatory system. Offshore renminbi market transactions will make interest rate and exchange rate determining mechanism more complex, and even affect yuan pricing. This requires the combination of two-rate marketizing reform, and the application of the scientific method in research and in the regulation of the monetary policy system. Establishment of a new macro-prudential financial regulation mode, accommodation of the offshore market within the monitoring range, strengthening international cooperation in financial supervision, and ensuring a smooth-running offshore RMB markets, and rapid, sound development.