Chinese president launches new AIIB development bank as power balance shifts

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Jin Liqun, the first president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, speaks during the bank’s opening ceremony in Beijing on Jan. 16. (AP Photo)

 

 

BEIJING–Chinese President Xi Jinping launched a new international development bank seen as a rival to the U.S.-led World Bank at a lavish ceremony on Jan. 16, as Beijing seeks to change the unwritten rules of global development finance.

Despite opposition from Washington, U.S. allies including Australia, Britain, German, Italy, the Philippines and South Korea have agreed to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in recognition of China’s growing economic clout.

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France hits out at dollar dominance in international transactions

France’s political and business establishment has hit out against the hegemony of the dollar in international transactions after U.S. authorities fined BNP Paribas $9 billion for helping countries avoid sanctions.

Michel Sapin, the French finance minister, called for a “rebalancing” of the currencies used for global payments, saying the BNP Paribas case should “make us realize the necessity of using a variety of currencies”.

He said, in an interview with the Financial Times on the sidelines of a weekend economics conference: “We [Europeans] are selling to ourselves in dollars, for instance when we sell planes. Is that necessary? I don’t think so. I think a rebalancing is possible and necessary, not just regarding the euro but also for the big currencies of the emerging countries, which account for more and more of global trade.”

Christophe de Margerie, the chief executive of Total, France’s biggest company by market capitalization, said he saw no reason for oil purchases to be made in dollars, even if the benchmark price in dollars was likely to remain. Continue reading