(Reuters) – Russian Economy Minister Maxim Oreshkin said the country was considering alternatives to the U.S. dollar for energy transactions and considering euro and ruble settlements for energy exports to minimize the United States exhibition.
“We have a very good currency, it is stable. Why not use it for global transactions? Oreshkin said Sunday in an interview with the Financial Times.
“We want (oil and gas sales) in rubles at some point,” he reportedly said. “The issue here is not to have excessive costs by doing it this way, but if the broad … financial infrastructure is created, if the initial costs are very low, then why not?”
Oreshkin said Russia would be able to sell its energy exports in local currency given the popularity of the country’s domestic bonds among foreign investors, who hold 29% of its debt in rubles.
Russia has attempted to reduce its exposure to the United States through a policy of “de-dollarization” to offset the impact of US sanctions.
Russian assets came under pressure after the first round of Western sanctions were imposed in 2014 for annexing Crimea to Ukraine.
Subsequently, Washington imposed new sanctions over allegations of interference in the 2016 US presidential elections and the poisoning of a former spy in Britain, charges Russia denied.
In August, the United States banned its banks from buying sovereign Eurobonds directly from Russia. Russia’s Finance Ministry said last month that the country would focus more on selling its debt to investors in Asia and Europe and may adjust the currencies of its bond issues.
Oreshkin told FT that Russia is aiming to boost its bilateral trade with the European Union, but is unlikely to readmit EU food exports unless the bloc facilitates EU access. Russia to its market.
Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bangalore; Editing by Paul Tait & Shri Navaratnam