Our translation from ria.ru follows.
Ivan Danilov, author of the blog Crimson Alter
Few people know of it, but among financial professionals there is an analogue of the well-known story of the bon mot by Sergei Lavrov "who are you to lecture me?," which, according to legend, was addressed to British colleague David Miliband. In 2012, when the US Ministry of Finance was going to smash the British Standard Chartered Bank with a multi-billion dollar fine for deals with Iran, bypassing US sanctions, the irritated London banker wrote his American counterpart an email with the text "You [foul language] Americans! Who are you to tell us, the whole world, that we cannot do business with Iran?" Six years ago, this outburst seemed to be a sign of the whole world’s impotence vs the omnipotence of the American financial system and those sanctions that the US leadership can use as an incredibly effective foreign policy tool.
But now what is happening is happening: the rest of the world has shifted from irritation and outrage to active opposition. In this context, the contrast between the way many Russian political analysts and economic commentators see the situation and the way the respectable Western media look at this situation looks quite odd. Many people in Russia still think that the status of the dollar is something like a physical constant that cannot be changed, and the thesis "he who prints the dollar owns the world, and so it will always" seems to them as self-evident as the postulate "the sun rises in the east." At the same time, experts and journalists of Western financial media are sounding alarm, panic, and sometimes just fallinto into hysterics, urging the US leadership to stop before it's too late, and not accelerate the already universally obvious process of de-dollarization in the world economy and trade.
The respectable London-based Financial Times, the mouthpiece of the City [of London – NSS], published a report entitled "Beware America: Dollar Dominance is not Forever," and adds: "The logic of using the dollar for pricing of almost all contracts for oil and other commodities is weakening."
The London edition points out that "during the Trump era, the US began to be perceived as an increasingly unreliable partner in trade, military and other arrangements, which has damaged international confidence in the United States and created the fear that Trump could use the dollar as a weapon to control other countries. Because of this, China, Russia and others are creating their own payment systems and channels that bypass the United States. "
The Economist, owned by several very influential oligarchic families, including the well-known house of Rothschild, also writes about the negative consequences of US sanctions and Trump's disregard for diplomatic agreements: "The dollar is unlikely to dominate forever. America has an ever smaller share of world production, the transition (from one reserve currency, to the Editorial Note) to a combination of reserve currencies remains possible. The way this transition is organized will depend on the including ## how America is perceived by its allies and opponents. <...> The dollar dominates in part because foreigners trust the American system, partly because the interests of our friends coincide with the interests of America .If the alliances pass on the transactional scheme, the efforts of other countries to reduce dollar dependence will become more intense and then necessarily have an impact on military and intelligence relations with the United States. "
[It may go deeper than this. The Rothschilds have announced that they are “moving away from” the dollar. The Rothschilds’ writing critically of the dollar may be motivated not only by their antipathy toward Trump but by a desire to induce other investors to drop the dollar and thereby enhance the value of their non-dollar holdings. If this is so, then the Chinese, Russians, Iranians and others with a stake in weakening the dollar have a powerful ally—NSS]
It is worth noting that The Economist sees at the root: the dollar is that element of the American-centric world system that makes the American allies (and even the opponents) "bound by one chain linked by one goal." If this linkage disappears, the demise of NATO and other international structures that provide US influence on international politics is only a matter of time.
It is significant that European efforts to circumvent anti-Iranian sanctions are perceived by London journalists with the utmost seriousness, since they are looking at the situation not from the point of view of the coming months, but from the perspective of the long-term prospects of American hegemony. It is also worth noting that it seems almost self-evident that the dollar has no chance to retain its dominant position in the future, and the question is just how specifically will the transition from the dollar's dominance system to the "multipolar currency world" take place.
By the way, the transition process is much faster than it may seem at first glance. For example, the most important news of recent days, not noticed by the mainstream media, is that the London Metal Exchange (LME) plans to launch futures for metals with calculations in yuan. Now the yuan can be not only a "petroyuan," but also a currency used for payments for aluminium, zinc, copper and other metals.
The London Stock Exchange is the main world market for the pricing of these metals and one of the most influential sites in the gold market.
The American business news agency Bloomberg also points to the negative consequences of Trump's sanctions policy with regard to Iran and Russia. In the article entitled "The Power of US Sanctions may be approaching its limits," Bloomberg columnist Ben Holland writes that "the response to a decision on Iranian sanctions shows that the world economy will not be forced indefinitely" and stresses that the US ability to apply sanctions now depends on the readiness of the European Union and China to obey them and that this readiness is waning.
"непропорционально большой ущерб от санкций против России — 44 миллиарда долларов или 40 процентов от общего ущерба — понесла не Россия, а Германия" в то время как на долю США пришлось лишь 0,6 процента от общих убытков.
Moreover, an American journalist reports that German economists have unexpectedly discovered that "disproportionately severe damage from sanctions against Russia - $ 44 billion or 40 percent of total damage – was incurred not by Russia but by Germany" while the US only incurred 0.6 percent of total losses. As one can easy to guess, this discovery will influence the further attitude of Germany towards American foreign policy.
[NSS note: EC Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said just a few days ago that Europe cannot go on taunting Russia and needs to move closer to it. Bundestag representatives have also recently expressed unprecedented interest in normalizing relations with Russia. Germany has just been shocked into this new Realpolitik by the spectre of Trump’s very high tariffs on German autos and by the realization that the country – so far the second biggest exporter in the world – relies heavily on the cheap pipeline gas from Russia that the US has tried with all its might to cut off with indirect sanctions on investors in Nord Stream II. It is hard to believe that Trump imagines he can compromise Europe so rudely with impunity.]
Bloomberg identified the two main "hot spots" of the world sanction war: the SWIFT system and Nord Stream II. The US is demanding that SWIFT, in fact a European organization, cut off Iran from its system of international payments, and there is a risk that otherwise SWIFT itself will be subject to US restrictions. The question of the construction of the Nord Stream II, like the situation around SWIFT, are the EU’s sore spots, and the way the EU responds to American pressure will determine the speed of the world's dedollarization. However, Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs, who commented on the situation for the US agency, is not particularly optimistic: "One day the US with its statements will simply knock the dollar out of its international role," he said. We can’t help but agree with the professor, but Brussels, Beijing and Moscow should work to ensure that this day comes as soon as possible.
[NSS had already shown here, based on its own research, that Russia is prepared to make cross-border payments in non-dollar currencies.]
Commentary and translation by New Silk Strategies. Original Russian-language article from Ridus.
Are things really this bad with Russia? Can a country legally destroy a business in a country with which it is not at war based on the shoddy pretext that the CEO is a friend of the president of that country – and on an unproven assumption of wrongdoing? If there was wrongdoing, shouldn’t the US take the case before the UN? Oh, wait. The accused might be treated fairly, mightn’t he?
If Rusal CEO Oleg Deripaska took this case of blatantly unfair sanctions before the WTO, what would happen if the judges ruled fairly? Clearly, the sanctions are based on utter nonsense. One of the Russian oligarchs targeted by Congress is being sanctioned because he is a friend of a friend of Putin. Are we in the Twilight Zone yet? The sanctions are based on the hypothesis that Russia meddled in the last presidential election. But this in turn is based on the accusation that a privately owned Russian company had “trolled” in a way that favoured Trump’s candidacy.
None of this would hold up in a court of law, of course. If the WTO wound up trying this case, then, assuming the judges were fair, these oligarchs could not be subjected to sanctions. The company was not tied to the Russian government and therefore, even if it could be proved that it “meddled” in the elections, this would be tantamount to a foreign country charging the US government with a misdeed allegedly committed by Mark Zuckerberg (not a public official). Trump has said he wants to defy the WTO. If he does so, he had better not try to use that body to file a complaint against another state. Legal experts say you can’t have it both ways. But even if Trump decides to use the Wild West method, he could still be sued by Deripaska in a US court, where Russophobia is not grounds for anything.
We commented here and here on the unsavoury methods of giving the US an unfair economic advantage over other countries, notably Russia. Trump was accused of being too Russia-friendly. To shake this reputation and show how “tough” he is on Russia, he is going absolutely overboard and simply abusing that country, actually harming its economy and its people.
Trump seems to be doing state business the same way he has been repeatedly accused of doing business privately. USA Today interviewed hundreds of past employees and contractors who swear and declare he stiffed them – many of them small businesses, ie, the little people who voted for him thinking he was on their side. The court records of their lawsuits are on the books. It looks as if Trump made himself great by cheating. If these allegations hold water, then it looks as though he wants to make America great using the same methods. A lot depends on how you define “great.”
But things may not be as bad as they seem. Even if worse comes to worst, Deripaska is not the only competent business person who could take the reins of Rusal.
Did the United States manage to strike Russia in the heart?
The sanctions against Rusal have a second bottom, something that even many Western analysts do not realize, but which experts at Ridus see as though on an x-ray picture.
How quickly and unquestioningly Oleg Deripaska agreed to the ultimatum of the US Treasury shows that American sanctions have finally come to a close, says the Swiss Neue Zürcher Zeitung in an article entitled "Die Sanktionen Gegen Russland sind ein voller Erfolg für die Amerikaner" (The sanctions are a complete success for the Americans ).
Thus, the US clearly showed who is the real owner in Russia: the Russian government has not yet stirred a finger to help the owner of Rusal out of trouble. The proposed anti-sanctions in the form of a ban on the export of titanium and rocket engines, as well as the import of American medicines, are tantamount to a mosquito bite for the United States, which cannot be said about the Russians themselves.
"The signal of the Americans is unequivocal. Anyone could wind up on their next list, and official Moscow would not be able to help them," states NZZ.
How Deripaska Accelerates Trump’s Impeachment
The Swiss edition is guilty of wishful thinking, because the fate of Deripaska personally cannot be an indicator that the Americans control the Russian economy, said Leonid Geraskin, president of the Eurasian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.
"The Americans would certainly like to take over the management of the block of enterprises owned by Oleg Deripaska, because they are of strategic importance for us and for them," he told Ridus.
Obviously, we are talking about rare earth metals and other unique materials, whose imports from Russia the United States prefers not to advertise.
According to Geraskin, the sanctions of the US Treasury for this reason has struck the American entrepreneurs themselves much more than the Russian company.
"Generally, there is a feeling that some forces in the American establishment are purposefully surrogating for President Trump, so that a noble rage boils against him in the American business community. Now half of the business community is dissatisfied with him. After clumsy sanctions against Deripaska, when aluminum soared to exorbitant prices in a few hours, the second half joined the disgruntled. That is, until impeachment is at hand,” believes Geraskin.
Similarly, the allegations of NZZ that the Russian government has left Deripaska at the mercy of fate, are incorrect, adds Geraskin in his interview with Ridus.
"No one can get out without help. I can assure you with all confidence : Deripaska will not leave Rusal. But the Americans have once again gotten into trouble, creating big problems for themselves,” concludes Geraskin optimistically.
Previously, the president of the National Strategy Institute, Mikhail Remezov, told Ridus that the only way to save these and other companies under the sanctions is if the state produces the products they produce, at least in strategic reserves.
Rusal is the best example of what it can mean for a company to have its oxygen, in the form of access to foreign markets, primarily the American market, cut off. Although Oleg Deripaska still does not ask for charity on the panel, his example is a lesson to the rest of the "teammates."
The Swiss paper cannot see the forest for the trees: Economist Anton Lubich member of the political council of the Growth Party, faults the analytical abilities of NZZ, saying it is unable to see the mechanism between the attack on Rusal and the real reasons behind it.
"Oleg Deripaska in all this intrigue is just a lever with which the US presses one end against the Russian leadership, and the other against companies from third countries that cooperate with Russia. The United States is killing two birds with one stone, both of which are competitors of American metallurgists, including the European Union. It's like in billiards: they hit one ball to ricochet and hit several others that cannot be reached directly by the cue,” he offered his own analysis in a conversation with Ridus.
The ultimate intentions - which balls the US is trying to drive into the pocket, and which ones serve only as an "pusher mechanism" for this purpose – protrude like a stick from a bag, out out the extraterritorial nature of American sanctions, explains Lyubich.
"This is a direct warning to all countries of the world: you either work with sub-investment companies in Russia, or you conduct business with the United States and use the dollar as a settlement. In this way, Washington forces the whole world to join the anti-Russian sanctions - because if any company is faced with a choice on whose market to work, Russian or American, the choice is clear in most cases,” says the economist.
It is enough to view the statistics of the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation to see without any analytical skill that the products of the metallurgical industry constitute the second line in Russian exports after oil, the expert notes. And the United States attacks Russia at these most vital spots.
"The attack on Deripaska is not a point bombing of a particular company. Now the Americans have gotten to the second largest group of Russian exports. If Moscow "does not take the hint,” the United States will also strike the first group - the oil and gas sector. This will squeeze Russia out of all the points at which it creates added value in the world available to it, "Lyubich predicts.
All accusations that Oleg Deripaska bears personal responsibility for the political actions of the Russian authorities are fairy tales for the layman, the expert believes.
"For example, an oligarch like Viktor Vekselberg, generally never dabbles in politics. He is far removed from politics and completely focused on investments, including in the US. Yet nevertheless, the Americans have also added his Renova to the sanctions list, not because he did anything wrong, but purely on the "class principle" - for the very fact of belonging to the club of Russian billionaires,” Lubich recalls.
Original article here:
Translation by NSS
Following is our translation from Nation News. The US government has done everything in its power to prevent Russia from developing and progressing. So far, the US' attempted sanctions on the Russian gas industry were thwarted by Europe, which cannot do without cheap piped gas, a fuel that cannot be replaced by extravagantly priced US LNG, despite Trump’s crude attempt to muscle in on that market by dint of sanctions. This would spell death to European industry, as reported here, and Europe said a resounding no to this attempted extortion.
But not all is a bed of roses for the Russian economy. Donald Trump has managed to land a painful blow in the field of metallurgy, as we shall see in our next commentary. This blow, however, boomeranged, just as all punitive tariffs eventually do. 93% of economicsts trained in macroeconomic theory and practice, said these tariffs will never work. But casino builders know best.
Trump reminds us of the story of Nebuchadnezzar in the book of Daniel. He was his own worst enemy.
By Kristina Oleneva
Russia and China are constructing a new passenger aircraft CR929, which will become a serious competitor for the European Airbus and the American Boeing.
In Shanghai, on April 27, an event was held to set the stage for working with suppliers of the main systems of the overall concept of the fuselage and tail unit. The meeting was attended by the deputy general director of the Chinese Corporation of Civil Aviation (COMAC), and Guo Bozhi, the general director of the Russian-Chinese enterprise CRAIC, which is the operator of the CR929 program.
As the head of CRAIC noted, work on the concept of hull and tail of the aircraft will focus on the requirements of the project and on the implementation of technical solutions.
The company notes that the construction of the fuselage will use composite materials - multi-level materials, which consist of a plastic base, followed by reinforcing fillers with high strength and rigidity.
Guo Bozhi also hopes that potential suppliers can become a real part of the CR929 team, which will allow the project to find the best technologists and construction methods.
At the moment, the Russian-Chinese team is intimately involved in the integrated technical solution of the liner.
Threat to Boeing
The implementation of the project is scheduled for 2025-2027. It is noted that the aircraft will be able to accommodate from 250 to 300 passengers, depending on the model, which will allow the CR929 to compete with major players in the aircraft building market such as the European Airbus and American Boeing.
It is also planned that the liner will occupy its own niche in the markets and in other countries, for example, in India. Currently, the project price is estimated at 13-20 billion dollars. According to the plans of Russia and China the first finished aircraft, is expected in 2025.
“And these "drop-out" volumes cannot be replaced with any LNG, we emphasize - any, whether American, Qatar, not even with our Yamal LNG.”
“These sources are insignificant considering the price of pipeline gas, and there are currently no technical solutions to this problem.”
We saw this coming when we wrote this: http://www.newsilkstrategies.com/news--analysis/trump-sells-vacuum-cleaners-to-warsaw . It was clear since Trump’s visit to Poland that he assumed that, as president he had godlike powers and could force Europe to buy extravagantly expensive US LNG as a replacement for cheap Russian piped gas. Trumponomics was just good old fashioned bullying (consistent with the Trump business MO described by USA Today). But the world had moved beyond. When the sanctions on Russian gas were under discussion, the EU did something very uncharacteristic. They rebelled against the US and brazenly and truthfully said this was economic extortion. The US was forced to back down. Then after Trump slapped tariffs on metals, a poll among economists showed that 93% disagreed with this.
You will recall that Trump and US lawmakers were imposing sanctions on any party that dared to cooperate with Russia economically. The excuse du jour was that Russia had supposedly interfered with the US election, but the charge was vague to absurd. The Russian “trolling” company was private, not tied to the state, and did not clearly promote either party in the campaign. Now consider all the news outlets, like NYT, CNN and many others that have Russian language versions which, during the last presidential election campaigns in Russia, aimed blatant anti-Putin propaganda at the Russian voters in a clear attempt to influence the election. And consider that Voice of America has the mission of converting Russia to a pro-American puppet – implying, by definition, interference is all areas of Russian politics, not just elections. Yet the content of a site hosted by a Russian private company -- content that was not clearly pro-Trump, naturally was branded by the Democrats as “foreign meddling,” and this issue took up a large proportion of the time and effort of US lawmakers for nearly 2 years and is still the main item of “business” in Washington. For this, the Russian economy and hence, the wellbeing of the Russian people, was targeted for destruction. Clearly, America’s “business” was centred not on building its own economy but on destroying the economies of its competitors. Where was “market economics”?
Meanwhile, Russia is busy selling its products, including hydrocarbons, abroad, to the benefit of Russia.
Our translation of an analysis from RIA Novosti follows.
It started: the two biggest powers of Europe will fight over Russian resources
The other day the deputy chairman of the board of the Russian corporation Gazprom, Alexander Medvedev, told Rossiya 24 that to meet the growing needs of Europe for Russian gas, his company is ready to lay another strand, Nord Stream-3, along the bottom of the Baltic Sea.
"We have always said that we will supply Europe with as much gas as necessary," he said. "We have confirmed reserves, there is transport available, and we are building new transport routes." If Europe declares its needs and is ready to sign the necessary contracts, then I do not rule out that new gas transport projects will be needed. "Nord Stream-3, for example."
The effect of this statement - very accurate, by the way - turned out to be such that the media special forces were immediately put on the case. And not only from the American, British, Polish and Ukrainian, but also the Russian democratic media. Arguments were quite diverse and often somewhat contradictory. In one and the same article, for example, there could be simultaneously a statement that Russian gas is not needed for Europe and Gazprom is engaged in "laying pipes as a sport" and there is "understanding for Ukraine's position" that is trying to maintain and even increase transit. The fact that Ukraine in this case should increase the transit of Russian gas "unnecessary for Europe" does not bother anyone.
Gazprom starts and wins. How a Russian company "conquered" Europe
The lively discussion ended with the consensus that the Russian gas giant is simply bluffing. With a view to a) "Protecting the Ukrainians," and b) "Still somehow finish building" the second "stream that no one needed.”
Meanwhile, to everyone who is more or less interested in the problems of the European energy markets, it is clear: Alexander Medvedev was not joking or trolling.
For there are two factors.
First, the depletion of Europe’s own reserves.
In January, the Netherlands announced reduced production at the once-largest Dutch Groningen field by 50% - to 12 billion cubic meters per year by 2022. To illustrate, a few years ago the annual production at Groningen was 50 billion cubic meters. And, according to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, production at this field will be completely discontinued by 2030. Production is declining in Norway and Scotland. According to the published and publicly available report of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, by 2020, gas production in the EU will initially decline to 212 billion cubic meters per year from the current 256 billion, and to 146 billion cubic meters by 2030.
Secondly, the demand for gas in Europe will only grow.
Old coal-fired thermal power plants are being closed down. By 2022, all nuclear power plants (NPPs) in Germany are being closed down definitively (and their share in the German energy industry once amounted to almost a quarter of national consumption). Industrial gas consumption, on the contrary, continues to grow.
And these "drop-out" volumes cannot be replaced with any LNG, we emphasize - any, whether American, Qatar, not even with our Yamal LNG.
These sources are insignificant considering the price of pipeline gas, and there are currently no technical solutions to this problem. And if it is economically justified to raise gas prices for the population (the burghers are unlikely to be happy about this, but they will squeal and pay), liquefied natural gas spells death for developed European industry: the increase in cost of energy-intensive products along the technological chain notoriously leads to their non-competitiveness in global markets.
Well, perhaps, the most interesting thing in this amusing "gas equation” is as follows.
Literally yesterday, the first of two sections of the Turkish gas pipeline, the Turkish Stream pipeline, reached the coast of Turkey.
And as the aforementioned Alexander Medvedev informs us, in the very near future, Gazprom will finally choose the Turkish Stream route of gas transport to Europe (from the second stream, which is also being actively constructed now). "Currently, two main options are being discussed," the deputy chairman of the company said, "As for the markets, they are Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary."
Pipe under pressure. Euro bureaucrats are trying to block "Nord Stream-2"
Thus, Gazprom is not trolling anyone with its report on Nord Stream-3. It is simply announcing, so to speak, for the time being, an unspoken, but already mathematically necessary offering. On the "third" for the beginning of the line of both "streams". Russia, in fact, is quite satisfied with the transport of gas by both routes, ie, the "Turk Stream" and the "Nord Stream."
So now let Turkey and Germany (by the way, these are the largest European countries, apart from Russia itself) compete for the one who builds the new "strands" and thereby becomes the main hub for "the Russian gas no one needs."
Ukraine is asked not to worry, but we can well wait. We still have the "Power of Siberia" for the Chinese to complete and, perhaps, can think of a pipeline to South Korea through the territory of the DPRK, which is hastily reconciling the southern brothers.
RIA Novosti https://ria.ru/analytics/20180501/1519714446.html
Our translation of an analysis by Olga Samofalova that appeared at the site of Russian business journal Vzglyad.
The Saudis need more expensive oil than Russia
April 20, 2018
Russia and other oil exporters have had an unexpected stroke of luck. Oil has for the first time risen to new highs since the end of 2014 and trades around 74 dollars. Together with the weakening of the ruble, this promises double benefits to the Russian budget. However, Saudi Arabia is still unhappy - it needs oil at 80-100 dollars per barrel, while Russia is comfortable even at 64 dollars. Why?
Both brands of oil: Brent and WTI - have risen to new highs since the end of 2014. Brent is trading around $ 74, WTI - at $69 per barrel. What is moving prices up?
First, in recent months, oil has supported the fundamental factors of supply and demand. The growth of the world economy led to an increase in demand for oil. On the other hand, the OPEC+ deal, in which Russia participates, limited the supply, and now more or less all members are meeting their obligations to reduce production. As a result, the demand in the oil market exceeds supply, which is reflected in the data on the decline in oil and petroleum products in the United States and other countries, says Marcel Salikhov, head of the Economics Department of the Institute of Energy and Finance (IEF).
Also in recent years, price-influencing factors like shale oil have appeared. "Over the past six months, it became clear that although producers of shale oil in the US are increasing production, they are not doing so to the extent generally expected. They have short-term problems, and it is not yet clear how quickly they will be able to respond to rising prices and increase production,” says Marcel Salikhov.
There are also short-term factors that helped oil jump. This is a geopolitical reward against the background of the Syria situation, sanctions against Russia and trade wars in the United States. "US sanctions against Russia have had a negative impact on the markets and the ruble exchange rate, but, on the other hand, have raised oil prices. This has partly redounded to the benefit of the Russian economy,” Salikhov said.
In the meantime, the Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko directly linked the Skripal case to the rise in oil prices, without, however, explaining the connection. Asked to comment on the Skripal case, Lukashenko sent a veiled message: "Commenting is not my job, it’s yours (journalists’). We hardly know much and can argue it. Look at things in a broader light: the price of oil has risen? It grew! I won’t go any further than that. Think."
"His logic, in my opinion, is very doubtful and too complicated. Formally, there is the Skripal case, which has resulted in sanctions imposed on Russia, and additional sanctions may be considered, and this can affect the oil market,” says Marcel Salikhov.
Perhaps Lukashenko was hinting at someone who could benefit from the attempted murder of the Skripals: someone who very much wants to raise oil prices. Thus this attack is not aimed at Russia. Because Russia would have enough to balance the budget at about $53 per barrel, as calculated by the Moscow investment bank "Renaissance Capital." At the beginning of the year, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Russia is generally comfortable with a price of around $64 per barrel. And the price of 60-65 dollars, which is already significantly higher than the pledged level in the Russian budget, has been holding for quite some time lately, so there was no need for Russia to change anything.
On the other hand, a higher price also creates favourable conditions for the growth of shale oil production in the United States. And this player can easily upset the balance of the supply and demand again and crash oil prices. Though better than average, a stable price of 60-65 dollars per barrel will dampen the enthusiasm of the manipulators.
But a price of 80-100 dollars per barrel is needed for Saudi Arabia, as it announced the day before. And these verbal interventions helped oil add a couple more dollars." The comments from Saudi Arabia were viewed by the market as a hint of a willingness to maintain production constraints, despite the fact that the oil reserves in the storage facilities are now close to the five-year average values," says financial analyst FxPro Alexander Kuptsikevich. Many OPEC members, incidentally, also need more-expensive oil, in particular Yemen and certainly Venezuela, which continues to reduce the extraction of fuel, which has an extremely high production cost.
Why do the Saudis have a more expensive oil than Russia? The fact is that the Saudis have a fixed exchange rate, while Russia has a floating exchange rate. As a result, oil prices affect the Russian economy and the economy of Saudi Arabia in completely different ways.
"In Russia, the main beneficiary of rising oil prices is the budget. We can assume that 80-90% of the gain from the price increase is taken by the budget, while the rest goes to the companies. At the same time, we have the opportunity to smooth out fluctuations in oil prices due to the floating ruble exchange rate, so that they will affect the economy less. Plus, the Ministry of Finance conducts interventions in the market, which additionally eliminates fluctuations,” the expert explains.
In Saudi Arabia, the rate of the national currency is fixed, and they do not have mechanisms to protect against fluctuations in oil prices. "Therefore, when oil prices decline, the Saudis are forced to spend reserves to support the exchange rate. For them, the higher the oil prices, the higher the positive effect. Russia does not have this situation: when oil prices rise, the ruble is also strengthened, and this somewhat reduces the positive effect for the economy," says the IEF expert.
This is now a non-standard situation, where oil prices have risen, but the ruble rate has declined. "In the current situation, the Russian Ministry of Finance receives a double benefit. If there were no sanctions, then with an increase in the price of oil, the ruble would be greatly strengthened," Salikhov said.
In addition, the Saudis need expensive oil in order to sell 5% of its oil giant Saudi Aramco. This IPO promises to be the largest in history. The Saudis have been trying to sell the stake for several years, but it's unprofitable to do this in a falling market.
The Saudis have large reserves of $250 billion. However, the budget deficit for only 2018 is calculated at 52 billion dollars, and Crown Prince Mohammed’s plans are extremely ambitious. He proposed the Vision 2030 program, which talks about building a smart city for $500 billion, a $200 billion solar energy project and many other equally expensive projects. Therefore, the Saudis need expensive oil in order to have enough for current needs and for the future. Russia does not even want to further reduce production for the sake of price.
On Friday, a regular meeting of OPEC+ members will take place, at which the parties can discuss new forms of the agreement. Now there are only two options for the OPEC+ deal: either the RF is in on the agreement and cuts production, or it withdraws from the deal. But there is concern that if Russia withdraws from the deal, then oil prices will fall again. Therefore, the parties can develop an intermediate option at the next OPEC meetings - some operational mechanisms of influence on prices; now the operational impact is only through verbal statements of the Russian Energy Minister or Saudi Arabia, says Salikhov. In other words, link the levels of production cutbacks to the real price of oil.
The fact is that with high oil prices, American shale can quickly increase production so that they will again spoil the fundamental stability.
It is difficult to make forecasts for oil, but it is likely that the price of oil will drop to $60, then rise to $90 per barrel.
According to the source, “the balance of risks is rather on the downside. Unless, of course, some military confrontation in the Middle East begins. Then, of course, the price can go as high as $100. But this is an extreme scenario, and the basic scenario is as follows: the US will increase production and OPEC+ will have to exit the agreement or reduce its scale. This will have a downward impact on oil. But the price of $60 more or less suits everyone: us, Saudi, the Americans, and consumers," notes the expert.
Original Russian-language text:
Translation and commentary by New Silk Strategies
Ekaterina Trofimova, the author of the article appearing in translation below, has worked in Gazprombank (Russia) as a Member of the Management Board and has supervised the Ratings Advisory Centre, the Centre for Economic Forecasting and the Corporate Communications Department.
We had previously reported on China’s intention to establish its oil futures market in Shanghai, with the futures denominated in gold-backed yuan. We said this move would return the world to the gold standard, which had once made the US dollar the unique reserve currency until 1971 when Nixon took the US off the gold standard. (He later placed the US on the “Saudi standard,” as detailed in our blockbusting 3 part series here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).
The Chinese oil futures market opened in March 26 as scheduled.
The Straits Times reports
“The debut of the yuan oil futures on the Shanghai Exchange was hugely successful.
“On the first day of trading, prices jumped, and contracts were made for 15.4 million barrels of crude for delivery in September.”
Western media were muffled in their response, with some saying this would not have much effect on the US dollar’s dominance. But no one disputed the importance of this step and most admitted that this was an attempt by the Chinese to diminish dollar dominance.
Quote from our translation below, speaking of Trump’s trade war and possible retaliation by China:
“But in the end, the chain of reciprocal steps (duties, devaluation, new duties, etc.) will lead to the destruction of world trade. And the destruction of world trade means the dollar loses its status as the world reserve currency, warns the expert.”
The original Russian-language article is from ridus.ru.
China is ready to end both the US dollar and the US
April 10, 02:10 | Ekaterina Trofimova
The trade war can grow into a real one if the parties do not start to negotiate.
The trade war between the US and China is gaining momentum. Beijing, which until recently expressed its readiness to seek a compromise in economic disputes, changed rhetoric and demonstrated its weapons arsenal.
On Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that the authorities consider it impossible to negotiate on this issue in the current circumstances. At the same time, the adviser to the Chinese Central Bank, Fan Gang, criticized US Treasury bonds.
"We are a low-income country, but we are a country with a high level of prosperity. We must make better use of capital. Instead of investing in US public debt, it's better to invest in some real assets, "Reuters quotes his speech at the Boao Asia Forum, which is currently being held in Hainan Province.
According to the expert, China's high debt load will not lead the country to a financial crisis, since the debt is mainly domestic, and the savings rate in China is 44% of GDP, giving the state a sufficient buffer to deal with risks.
In addition, the Chinese authorities are thinking about devaluation of the yuan, reports Bloomberg. According to the agency, the government prepared an analysis of the national currency, which is now being studied by high-ranking officials of the PRC. In the first part, the effect of using currency as an instrument in trade negotiations with the US is considered, and in the second part, the effects of depreciation of the renminbi (yuan, RMB) in order to compensate for the effect of a trade agreement that would restrict exports.
Devaluation of the yuan is quite possible, but if China does this, the Fed will certainly postpone another increase in the key interest rate, believes Alexei Vyazovsky, vice-president of the Golden Mint House. "An economic war is starting not for life, but for death, and everyone uses their methods," the expert explained to Ridus.
Beijing is unlikely to ditch US debt - that would hit the entire world market, and the Chinese would not be exempted -- but what about reducing the volume of their purchases to the point of complete refusal? Why not? Moreover, if the trade war develops, and China's trade surplus with the US decreases, it will happen naturally - the PRC will simply have less dollars to purchase treasuries.
The Chinese do not bend, Vyazovsky says, and the trade war is a road to nowhere, which is easy to get on, but very difficult to leave. Initially there will really be a minor positive effect for the instigator. But in the end, the chain of reciprocal steps (duties, devaluation, new duties, etc.) will lead to the destruction of world trade. And the destruction of world trade means the dollar loses its status as the world reserve currency, warns the expert.
Conflict situations in relations between the US and China have already occurred repeatedly since the early 1980s, but each time the parties have sat down at the negotiating table and made mutual concessions. Theoretically everything should work out about the same way now. But earlier such disagreements were solved quietly, behind closed doors, were not accompanied by a blaring information background, and such real large-scale global trade wars did not arise.
Now the situation is non-standard, with fundamentally new geopolitical and geo-economic conditions and new (and very unpredictable) leadership in the United States. Therefore, no one knows what all will happen going forward and what will be the result. But while there is an obvious negative trend in the relationship between the two leading countries of the world, and the conflict is growing, actually, the struggle for leadership, from all appearancs, is its main source.
There will be only one
America will continue to put pressure on China due to the fact that China is becoming the world's largest economy and is about to overtake the US in terms of GDP. "But just the same, you can’t crush China," says Vyazovsky. "It will strengthen relations with Africa, and with Russia." Perhaps the Chinese will launch an internal debt market. They said they wanted to launch the gold yuan, that is, to tie it in some way to gold and secretly buy up a lot of gold. It was for this purpose that the gold exchange was launched in Shanghai. One more step, which can also lead to the loss of the world currency status for the dollar, is the beginning of oil trade in yuan. "
China is on the heels of the Americans on all fronts, Nikolai Kotlyarov, professor at the Finance University under the Government of the Russian Federation, agrees with his colleague. Of course, while the Chinese do not reach the rivals in high-tech areas, the size of the economy they have is already greater than America’s, although the quality, of course, is worse.
The PRC has adopted the task of catching up with the United States by the middle of the 21st century. And since the Chinese are consistent in the implementation of their decisions, they can quite well reach the American level of development within 20-30 years. The population of the country is a huge, able-bodied, and there is an impressive diaspora all over the world, with which close ties are maintained.
China is moving toward world hegemony in leaps and bounds, and the American elite does not want to give up this status. There can only be one winner, and the situation is very difficult: experts do not exclude the possibility of armed clashes. This does not mean that a real war will begin right now, but morally humanity is already preparing for such a turn of events.
"The trend, of course, is not very good," Kotlyarov notes. According to him, though only implicitly, restrictions are being removed from Japan in the production of offensive weapons. And Japan and China are long-standing enemies. Strengthening confrontation in the region could sooner or later lead to a serious conflict unless the parties begin to negotiate, to seek compromises.
Driven into each other’s arms
In the event of an escalation of the conflict, a new alliance may emerge, ie, Russia and China. So far, the countries are not more than strategic partners, but the powerful pressure from the US simultaneously on both states simply pushes them towards each other, and experts allow for further rapprochement - both political and economic.
"Under the conditions of Russia's sanctions, it will be necessary to get loans somewhere. Why not in China? Our officials travelled there in 2014, but they did not come to terms, because Chinese banks were afraid that the Americans could also impose sanctions on them. And now they are actually under trade sanctions, " said Vyazovsky.
Russia is also important for China not only as a supplier of energy resources, but also as a reliable rear guard in the north and west, Kotlyarov adds. "Therefore, it is quite possible to expect the formation of a military-political union in the future," he believes.
He recalls Stalin's words that the USSR will be unbeatable in conjunction with China. But Russian-Chinese relations historically evolved uneasily, there were periods of friendship and of confrontation. As a result, the Soviet leadership also failed to establish them. And the Americans apparently believe that in the long term Russia and China cannot be allies by definition: their civilizations are too different, their historical contradictions too big, and there is no mutual trust.
Russia's current relations with China are indeed ambiguous: there are supporters of rapprochement, and there are opponents. The Chinese have the same problem. In China, nationalism is on the rise, and we also have fears of Chinese expansion. But at the political level, relations are unprecedentedly good, experts recall.
Ekaterina Trofimova is the Chief Executive Officer of Analytical Credit Rating Agency (ACRA, Russia, WWW.ACRA-RATINGS.COM), appointed at its foundation in November 2015. Prior to this from September 2011, Ms. Trofimova worked in Gazprombank (Russia) as a Member of the Management Board and supervised the Ratings Advisory Centre, the Centre for Economic Forecasting and the Corporate Communications Department.
New Silk Strategy's Chinese to English translation of “The yuan: a sword aimed at the heart of the dollar”
Our translation of an article from vestifinance.com preceded by our commentary.
China is set to open its oil futures market on March 26 via the Shanghai International Energy Exchange. The futures will be denominated in RMB (yuan), thereby launching the petroyuan. Since the yuan is now essentially convertible to gold, this reintroduces the gold standard, which was eliminated by Richard Nixon in 1971.
Nixon floundered around in search of a new prop for the dollar and finally settled on a petrodollar agreement with the Saudis whereby the US would become essentially a mercenary force to defend the Saudi royals and their oil fields (though judging by the outcomes of US-waged wars since then, it would appear the unspoken part of the deal was to rid the Saudis of Shiite and secular leaders as well, to the benefit of radical Wahhabism/Salafism) in exchange for them charging only US dollars for their oil and keeping their reserves in USD as well. The confidence in the USD that this unsavoury deal created in the biggest investors has kept the buck afloat since that time. However, the Chinese are now exerting enormous pressure on the Saudis to drop this sordid deal and start using the yuan instead. There are signs that Saudi is starting to crack. For example, Crown Prince Salman has broken a sacred tradition of buying all its military arms from the US and has been negotiating with Putin for the purchase of the S-400 air defence system.
If he eventually decides to make a clean break of it, adopting the petroyuan and kicking the buck under the bus, the US dollar will be hard put to hold its own as a reserve currency for world trade settlements.
This is not the best of times for the dollar since it has lost considerable value against a basket of world currencies and the US stock market is starting to crumble.
The rampant imposition of US sanctions on a wide assortment of states for an arbitrary host of misdeeds is also making the petroyuan more attractive as an immunizer against this possibility. While the US seems oblivious to this side effect of its liberal sanctions policy, the EU, Russia, Iraq and others are keenly aware of how easily the US could bring down their economies with a strict application of it. And it’s not just the US-designated “enemies.” In June 2014 the US Justice Department fined French bank BNP Paribas $8.9 billion for trading with Iran in US dollars. Thus, even “friendly” countries need to fear trading in dollars. The petroyuan might be just the ticket for them.
China changes the rules of the game in the oil market
Moscow, September 4 - Vesti.Ekonomika
China is preparing to launch a futures contract for oil, denominated in RMB with a possible conversion to gold. According to experts, this may radically change the rules of the game in the oil market, as it will allow raw material exporters to avoid using the dollar.
Considering the fact that China is the world's largest oil importer, this contract could become a new benchmark for traders, only this time it will be based in Asia. Recall that two reference contracts for crude oil - WTI and Brent, are now traded on the world market, and both are denominated in US dollars.
The launch of the futures, denominated in RMB, will allow exporters, such as Russia and Iran, to avoid using dollars and, if necessary, avoid sanctions. In addition, the exchanges of Hong Kong and Shanghai will be able to convert the yuan into gold, which will be an additional incentive for the displacement of trade in Asia, as reported by the agency Nikkei.
LAUNCHING A NEW OIL CONTRACT
Shanghai International Energy Exchange in June and July carried out the necessary preparatory work, as well as a test auction, and is now beginning to train potential participants. This will be China's first commodity futures contract, open to foreign companies, such as investment funds, trading houses and oil companies.
Many experts, including the US, admit that now the rules of the game on the global energy market can change.
By the way, China has already matured to launch its futures. The fact is that in recent years, active participation of Chinese independent oil refineries has been noted, which has made the domestic market in China diverse. This means that an environment was created in which the contract for crude oil will be in demand.
Further, China has long wanted to reduce the dominance of the US dollar in commodity markets. Gold futures have already been launched, and have traded on the Shanghai Gold Exchange since April 2016. Now the exchange plans to start trading on the stock exchange in Budapest by the end of this year.
In addition, the contracts for gold in RMB were launched in Hong Kong in July, although this was preceded by two unsuccessful attempts.
Once again, we emphasize that the presence of two contracts (for oil and gold, denominated in RMB) will allow bidders, in fact, to pay for oil in gold or convert the yuan into gold. In any case, it is an excellent opportunity to avoid settlements in US dollars, and even if the trader has no desire to pay in RMB, he can use gold.
Russia, for example, will be able to sell oil to China, and while converting yuan into gold, our country will have no obligation to keep money in Chinese assets or transfer proceeds from the sale of "black gold" to dollars.
As already mentioned above, these futures are of the greatest interest for countries against which the US conducts an aggressive foreign policy: Venezuela, Iran, Qatar and others.
By the way, China is using an element of pressure, stating that those who do not want to sell oil through a new contract in RMB will lose a share in the Chinese market. Thus, for example, according to Chinese media, Beijing has already proposed calculations in the yuan for Saudi Arabia. While the Saudi response to this s not known, China has already reduced its share of oil imports from Saudi Arabia.
Original text: http://www.vestifinance.ru/articles/90448
NSS translation and commentary
Below is our translation from the Russian of an article from EADaily. The possibility of adding tariffs to aluminium and steel products was raised back in January. The EU has now reiterated its intent to levy retaliatory tariffs in response. So higher prices in both the US and Europe will be the outcome. This is why most administrations have refrained from imposing tariffs as a means of offsetting non-competitively priced imports to the US.
FAZ: EU prepares for trade war with US
The European Union is preparing for a trade war with the United States. If the restrictions on steel imports and aluminium imposed by Washington on the import of steel and aluminium are also affected by European enterprises, the EU can, within a few days, introduce retaliatory duties on important products from the United States, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reports with reference to sources in the European Commission.
At the same time, penalties can be imposed on the widest range of American products from orange juice to motorcycles and whiskey, the newspaper writes.
According to spokespersons for the publication, agricultural products from the United States, including potatoes and tomatoes, head the European Commission’s list. At the same time, Europeans want to strengthen the sensitivity of the retaliatory measures by the fact that the blow is supposed to be inflicted on goods of great importance for the constituencies of the closest supporters of US President Donald Trump. This includes notably motorcycles, since the head office of Harley Davidson is in Wisconsin, home of House of Representatives speaker Paul Ryan. European Commission’s list also includes Bourbon whiskey, which is produced mainly in Tennessee and Kentucky - in the homeland of Trump adviser Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader in the Senate.
As the FAZ notes, the European Commission took as a basis the list of goods that was drawn up during the last major trade conflict with the US under President George W. Bush, but updated it. The fact that the EU, in response to possible penalties on steel and aluminium, will react with higher duties on goods from completely different sectors of the economy, does not contradict the norms of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
At the end of last week, US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross proposed to introduce large-scale protectionist duties on the supply of aluminium and steel from 14 countries to protect "US national security".
Ross proposed three different options: to increase the import duty to at least 24% for all countries, or increase the tariff to at least 53% for imports from 12 countries - Russia, China, Brazil, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Malaysia, South Korea, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam. As a third option, it is proposed to introduce "quotas on all products from all countries equal to 63% of their exports in 2017".
Read more: https://eadaily.com/en/news/2018/02/20/faz-evrosoyuz-gotovitsya-k-torgovoy-voyne-s-ssha
When the US legislature was weighing sanctions to impose on Russia, they were worried that Russia could hit back by banning titanium exports to the US, a vital product for Boeing. But during those discussions it was mentioned that the next contract for the titanium was already signed and nothing could be done about its implementation.
But for every tit there is a tat.
What they forgot was that the Russian Duma can do whatever it darn well pleases. The article as translated below doesn’t tell us whether the new bill calls for this titanium contract to abrogated, but theoretically, that could now happen.
Further, the article hints that other aerospace cooperation with Russia could be affected. Without those Russian missile engines, the US could be in a bit of a bind. US communications companies are relying on those engines to launch their satellites.
Both sides are playing Russian roulette, no pun intended.
NSS translation from 24molnia.com:
Package of Russian counter-sanctions to the US will be one of the harshest
Russia has decided on a response to the next package of US sanctions. This time, according to experts, Moscow’s response to Washington will be the most painful one. The Federation Council has already supported the corresponding bill of the State Duma. "A Russian responses to unfriendly US actions should be systemic in nature, and the draft law implies just such a system," Andrei Klimov, deputy chairman of the Federation Council's international affairs committee, told reporters. He said the following about the areas that Russian counter-forces will touch upon.
According to Klimov, it is about imposing restrictions on cooperation between Russia and the United States in the export of titanium and space activities. Planned restrictions on shipments in the US components for Boeing airliners. We are talking about the supply of titanium, which deals with the Russian "VSMPO-Avisma." According to various experts, American aircraft construction depends on the export of titanium from Russia by 40-60% of the total.
By New Silk Strategies staff
So what would happen to the dollar if the long-standing deal with the Saudis should fail?
The most likely first step in this scenario is that China would strong-arm the Saudis into accepting payment in RMB only for oil sold to China. In that scenario, considering that KSA’s oil sales to China amounted to only $26.7 billion in 2015, the amount is negligible, particularly in comparison to a US debt of $20 trillion, much of which came from printing (QE) dollars out of thin air. In fact, considering that, according to WTEx, total Saudi oil sales amounted to only $136.2 billion in 2016, and that only part of this went into their dollar denominated reserve fund, their contribution to the dollar’s value has really been only minimal. According to money.cnn.com Saudi disclosed last year that they had stockpiled a measly $116.8 billion of U.S. Treasuries as of March 2016. Obviously, to a country with a $20 trillion debt, this contribution to the value of the dollar is negligible, suggesting that the US-Saudi petrodollar deal has a mostly psychological effect, if any at all, on the dollar's value against other currencies.
We had previously pointed out that the amount of RMB used in non-dollar international trade settlements was practically negligible compared to the amount of euros used. Indeed the amount of euros used in international trade in 2016 was 23.8% vs 43.0% for the US dollar, while the amount of yuan used was so small that no figure was entered in the sliver representing it in the bar graph (Chart 3 shown here). Further, tellingly, this very substantial percentage of euros in international trade settlements did not cause any palpable rise in the oil price as against the dollar. So what real monetary effect did the petrodollar agreement have?
Foreign Policy Journal reported last April that “although the RMB was the fifth most used currency globally, it only accounted for 2.5% of all international payments tracked by SWIFT, as opposed to 43.3% for the dollar or 28.7% for the euro. [It] also reported that 70% of the international transactions involving the RMB were between Hong Kong and the mainland. If Hong Kong is excluded, then the RMB only accounts for 0.8% of global SWIFT payments.”
Is anyone really afraid the Chinese yuan will push aside the USD within the foreseeable future?
Thus, even if China persuaded trading partner KSA to demand only RMB for their oil exports to all countries, the amount in question would not be much more than $182 billion. And if that euro amount of non-dollar settlement was not sufficient to break the buck, a few more billion would hardly suffice. Further, this is only a small fraction of the amount held by Japan ($1.1 trillion) or China ($1.3 trillion) and by all others combined ($$3.8 trillion). All foreign nations put together hold only 32.35% of US sovereign debt. Further, even this amount is absolutely dwarfed by the share of the debt held by various US agencies.
The rest of the countries and US agencies holding US debt account for many times the amount held by the Saudis. As another example, this site shows that the Saudis hold a very minute share of US debt.
From all of the above we can conclude that, even if the dollar should collapse, it will not be a result of China-Saudi skulduggery because, while NIxon and Kissinger had supposed that the impact of the Saudis settling exports only in US dollars would bolster the dollar, we have just demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Saudi-US petrodollar agreement makes only a negligible contribution to international dollar settlements and is therefore of no use to the US.
This supports our theory that the effect of the Nixon-Faisal petrodollar deal is really mostly psychological. Indeed, it is possible that even the Bretton Woods dollar, backed by gold, was propped up mostly by crowd psychology.
So if the petrodollar agreement had little or no real effect on the dollar’s value, what could have driven the US elites, including notably Henry Kissinger, the putative author of the idea, to propose the plan to the Saudis back in the 70s? And why would economists still believe this agreement is of any value whatsoever to the dollar's standing as the world reserve currency?
In view of the minute fraction of US debt held by Saudi Arabia, one must wonder if in fact the deal was not motivated in large part by a radical-Enlightenment-inspired desire to undermine Christianity in the Middle East/North Africa and the West by going along with a Saudi (and/or Israeli) de-Christianisation policy under the guise of protecting the dollar. This would have sold well to the financial and political elites, who were aware from the outset of the Nixon-Faisal deal. Certainly, nothing is more of a hindrance to policies designed to take from the poor and give to the rich than Christianity and its attendant old-fashioned common sense.
Certainly no feature of American culture has been under more systemic attack in recent decades than traditional Christianity. And certainly, the Western intervention in Iraq, Syria, Kosovo and Libya had the effect – intentional or not – of undermining traditional Christianity in those regions thanks in large part to Wahhabist-terrorist intolerance of Christians indigenous to the region and also to the mass migration of Muslims to Europe, which have undeniably diluted what was left of the Christian culture there. All of this seemed to be the quid pro quo for the Saudis, whose contribution to propping up the dollar was obviously way overrated and, in the current status quo, is clearly superfluous.
Judging by Donald Trump’s behaviour at the Saudi court, he too had fallen for the myth that the Saudis were the mainstay of the USD. Thus the US continued, and continues, to pretend that there is no alternative to holding our noses and supporting the Saudis and their genocidal war on the Houthis, their clandestine support of ISIS and Al-Qaeda and their insistence on attacking Iran, even if such could lead to WW III.
Yet, assuming the figures quoted above from reputable sources are accurate, the whole petrodollar agreement has been nothing but a gigantic, tragic hoax intended to support useless and patently immoral slaughter. And the biggest victims to it are the Christians of the Middle East/North Africa and Europe. Coincidence? Or exactly what was on the agenda?
Regardless of motive, we conclude the petrodollar agreement was never key to keeping the US dollar afloat but was indeed key to destroying Christianity in the Middle East, Kosovo and Europe.
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To give you an idea of the extent to which Christianity is being sabotaged in the West, please read this article by the creator of Russian Faith, whose site has been blocked by the “Enlightened Ones” of the West.