Venezuela may swap oil currency


In an interview with Channel 4 News in London, Mr Chavez said the move was merely a matter of choice.

"I think the European Union has made a large contribution with the euro," he said.

"So what the president of Iran says … is recognising the power of Europe – they have succeeded in integrating and have a single currency competing with the dollar, and Venezuela might also consider that – we are free to do that," he added.

Dollar concerns

Experts have suggested that, should Iran demand payment for its exports in euros, central banks could opt to convert some of their dollar reserves to euros and therefore possibly trigger a further decline in the US currency.

The dollar has already come under pressure in foreign exchange markets in recent weeks, triggering nervousness in world stock markets.

Central banks, especially in Asia, who hold large amounts of the US dollar, could find the value of their foreign currency reserves substantially reduced.

Tensions rising

Iran is currently embroiled in a stand-off with the US in a row over its nuclear ambitions.

Iran, the second-largest exporter in oil producing nations group Opec, insists merely wants to build power stations, but the US claims it is building nuclear arms.

Meanwhile, Venezuela – the world’s fifth largest oil producer – has been trying to reduce its dependence on the US, as relations have been strained under President Hugo Chavez.

In April it signed a joint venture with Cuba – a long time opponent of the US – to revamp an oil refinery and supply unrefined oil to the country.
Story from BBC NEWS

Published: 2006/05/17 13:38:06 GMT


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