Muammar Gaddafi wanted to shatter the dominance of the greenback in the Middle East by introducing gold-backed dinar, but failed. For his efforts he was killed by the US.
China has a chance to finish what he started, one industry expert says.
“Ideas related to oil trade in currencies other than the dollar arose more than once. Some of them were severely suppressed by the United States, one example is Muammar Gaddafi, who proposed the introduction of a regional currency gold dinar and trading oil in the Middle East in this currency,” Aleksandr Egorov, foreign exchange strategist at TeleTrade, told RT.
However, this time, an attempt to oust the dollar could be successful. China has launched oil futures backed by yuan, and Beijing has what Gaddafi didn’t, according to the expert.
“Along with the Chinese role in the global economy and the growing interest in the renminbi, China is also protected by a nuclear shield. It can afford to try to shatter the monopoly in oil trade. This will give even more weight to the Chinese yuan. In addition, China’s economy is the world’s largest consumer of oil, and consequently, all world producers of raw materials will have to reckon with the strategy of the Chinese authorities,” Egorov said.
According to the analyst, the timing for the launch of the petro-yuan is perfect. Key oil producers Russia, Iran and Venezuela are under pressure from US sanctions, and it is a good moment for them to ditch the dollar in oil trade and substitute it with the yuan.
Mikhail Mashchenko, an analyst at social network for investors eToro, agrees. “From the point of view of Russia’s geopolitics, it is certainly beneficial to reduce the role of the dollar in foreign trade. And it has been done, let’s recall the record growth of the country’s gold reserves. The other states that are constantly under the threat of new sanctions, like Iran and Venezuela, can profit, too. The contracts in RMB will allow to trade oil without US approval,” he told RT.
Both analysts agree that it will take time before the petro-yuan can become a real threat to the dollar. China needs to win the support of the world’s largest oil producers Russia and Saudi Arabia, or the initiative is doomed, says Mashchenko. He added that the yuan is fully controlled by Beijing, which could also spook potential investors.