OPINION

Reliability of Russian Reserves Unaffected After Dollar Assets Removed From Wealth Fund, Experts Say

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia’s decision to cut the US dollar from its National Wealth Fund will not affect the reliability of its national reserves, as Russia continues to remain a serious player in the world arena, experts told Sputnik, adding that the move will hardly affect the financial markets.

Economist Bruno Colmant, a CEO of Bank Degroof Petercam, recalled that in the past, Russia had reduced its exposure to the dollar by reducing the share of its holdings in dollars to a significant extent.

“The announcement made today for the National Wealth Fund of eliminating all dollar-denominated assets is, in my opinion, a symbolic decision, in the climate of tensions that we have known since the arrival of [US President] Joe Biden at the White House. The 2 heads of state will meet in Geneva and the tensions have eased a bit”, he said referring to the upcoming summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Biden.

Colmant does not believe that Moscow’s decision can affect the reliability of the Russian reserves.

“Russia is a serious state, which is not indebted, and the switch to other reserve currencies like the Euro and the Yuan does not change the confidence in the country. The Renminbi (YUAN) is also a reserve currency, one of the 5 of the IMF [International Monetary Fund], which is a bit surprising since it is not fully convertible, but so it is. The day the Renminbi will be fully convertible, it will become one of the leading reserve currencies in the world”, he said.

While admitting that there are no similar signs in other countries, Colmant said that one should closely follow what China “is doing and will be doing.”

“[Chinese] economic weight could be a game-changer if they ever get rid of their dollars, but that day has not come. The US is the primary outlet for Chinese goods, and China holds huge amounts of dollars. So they’re not going to shoot themselves in the foot”, he said.

Speaking about the effect of the financial markets, there hardly be a “noticeable effect” on them in the wake of Russia’s move, Etienne de Callatay, the Manager of Orcadia Asset Management in Luxembourg, told Sputnik.

According to the expert, as the dominance of the dollar will continue to prevail, Russia’s decision could theoretically damage the credibility of its reserves “more than it would lead to a new world financial order.”

“But since the Russian Finance Minister announces that the National Bank will switch to EUR and YUAN-denominated assets, there is no potential problem”, he concluded.

US dollar still remains the currency that is convenient for many, Peter Vanden Houte, the Chief Economist of Dutch ING back based in Brussels, told Sputnik.

“There have been so many stories over the last years that if e.g. China will sell its dollar assets, it would have a significant impact on US financial markets, but at the end of the day, not much is happening. It remains too convenient for so many parties to use the dollar as international currency that for the time being there is not that much incentive to back away from the dollar”, he said.

While, the US dollar remains the dominant currency worldwide, but it is still possible that the other main currencies “become a bit more important, Vanden Houte said, adding that this is a very very slow process.

Earlier in the day, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said that the ministry will introduce changes to the structure of the National Wealth Fund within a month, mentioning that the share of the US currency will decrease to zero. The share of the British pound sterling will drop to 5 percent, the share of Japan’s yen will remain unchanged at 5 percent, the share of euro will grow to 40 percent and the share of yuan will grow to 30 percent, according to the minister. Reacting to the measure, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stressed that the process of abandoning the use of the dollar is visible when asked about the decision.

The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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