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Russia & China - Oct 29

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PM Putin suggests Russia, China ditch dollar in trade deals

RIA Novosti
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin proposed on Tuesday that Russia and China gradually switch over to national currency payments in bilateral trade, expected to total $50 billion in 2008.

"We should consider improving the payment system for bilateral trade, including by gradually adopting a broader use of national currencies," Putin told a bilateral economic forum.

He admitted the task would be tough, but said it was necessary amid the current problems with the dollar-based global economy.
(28 October 2008)



Russia's oil boom: Miracle or mirage?

Andrew E. Kramer, International Herald Tribune
After years of growth, Russia's once mighty oil machine is feeling the strains of declining production and energy prices as the industry copes with the worst economic crisis in Russia in a decade.

Oil companies that coasted on high commodity prices, Soviet-era infrastructure and easy Western bank credit have quickly fallen on hard times. Foreign investors have pulled out and company share prices have wilted. Is this the end of the Putin boom?

"We're watching Russia very carefully," David Fyfe, a senior oil market analyst at the International Energy Agency in Paris, said by telephone.

... The pivotal question in the Russian oil industry is whether the government intends to support the companies, milk them for short-term funds to shore up other areas of the economy, or intentionally allow them to wither as an unstated curb on output to help support world prices. This being Russia, evidence of all three approaches seems to be surfacing at once.

... Russia, a country that has blithely presented itself as possessing almost limitless oil under the Siberian wilderness, is transitioning to more expensive, remote fields, offshore in the Arctic Ocean and in eastern Siberia.

"The era of easy oil, in the world and in Russia in particular, is over," said Dmitry Dolgov, a spokesman for a major Russian oil company, Lukoil. "The traditional deposits are in decline and it is a natural process that cannot be stopped."
(28 October 2008)
UPDATE (Oct 30). Added the last two paragraphs at the suggestion of Jeffrey Brown.



China sets price for cooperation on climate change

Chris Buckley, Reuters
China wants rich countries to commit 1 percent of their economic worth to help poor nations fight global warming, and will press for a new international mechanism to spread "green" technology worldwide.

Unveiling the demands on Tuesday, a senior Chinese official for climate change policy, Gao Guangsheng, said the financial turmoil rattling the global economy should not deter a big increase in funds and technology to poor nations.

"Developing countries should take action, but a prerequisite for this action is that developed countries provide funds and transfer technology," Gao told a news conference.
(28 October 2008)

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