In the heady days of the commodity boom, oil-rich nations accumulated billions of dollars in reserves they invested in U.S. debt and other securities. They also occasionally bought trophy assets, such as Manhattan skyscrapers, luxury homes in London or Paris Saint-Germain Football Club.
Now that oil prices have dropped by half to $50 a barrel, Saudi Arabia and other commodity-rich nations are fast drawing down those “petrodollar” reserves. Some nations, such as Angola, are burning through their savings at a record pace, removing a source of liquidity from global markets.
President Vladimir Putin accused the U.S. of seeking to blackmail France into scrapping a contract to sell Mistral warships to Russia by offering to cut a record $8.97 billion fine against BNP Paribas SA. (BNP)
“We know about the pressure which our U.S. partners are applying on France not to supply the Mistrals to Russia,” Putin told Russian diplomats in Moscow today. “And we even know they hinted that if the French don’t deliver the Mistrals, they would quietly get rid of the sanctions against the bank, or at least minimize them,” he said without naming BNP Paribas.
“What is that if not blackmail?” Putin said. Continue reading
Bank of France Governor Christian Noyer said the U.S. investigation into BNP Paribas SA (BNP)’s dealings with sanctioned nations may encourage companies to stop using dollars in international transactions.
“We could say that companies would have maximum interest to do the most possible transactions in other currencies,” Noyer, who is also a member of the European Central Bank’s Governing Council, said yesterday on BFM television. “Trade between China and Europe — do it in euros, do it in renminbi, stop doing it in dollars. This is an affair that will leave marks.” Continue reading