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Saudi Arabia ends 80-year petrodollar deal with U.S., boosting other currencies

By Pawan Kumar
The Times of India, Mumbai
Friday, June 14, 2024


Saudi Arabia has decided not to renew its 80-year petrodollar agreement with the United States, which expired on Sunday, June 9. This deal, signed on June 8, 1974, was a significant part of the global economic influence of the United States.

The agreement created joint commissions for economic cooperation and supported Saudi Arabia's military needs.

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At the time, American officials hoped the agreement would encourage Saudi Arabia to produce more oil and strengthen economic ties with Arab countries.

By not renewing this contract, Saudi Arabia is now free to sell oil and other goods using various currencies like the Chinese renminbi, euros, yen, and yuan rather than only U.S. dollars.

There is also talk of exploring digital currencies, such as bitcoin, for transactions.

This decision marks a major shift away from the petrodollar system, which has been in place since 1972 when the U.S. stopped linking its currency directly to gold. It is expected to speed up the global trend of using currencies other than the U.S. dollar in international trade.

Additionally, Saudi Arabia has joined Project mBridge, a collaborative effort to develop a digital currency platform shared among central banks and commercial banks.

This project aims to facilitate instant cross-border payments and foreign exchange transactions using distributed ledger technology. Project mBridge began in 2021 and involves several prominent central banks and institutions worldwide. 

It has recently reached the stage of a minimum viable product, inviting private-sector firms to propose innovations and use cases to further develop the platform.

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