© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: BRICS leaders including Russia’s Vladimir Putin and South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa pose for as they arrive for the BRICS summit in Brasilia, Brazil November 14, 2019. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino/File Photo
By Rachel Savage and Carien du Plessis
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – A BRICS currency will not be on the agenda of the bloc’s summit in South Africa next month, but Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will continue to switch away from the U.S. dollar, South Africa’s senior BRICS diplomat said on Thursday.
“There’s never been talk of a BRICS currency, it’s not on the agenda,” Anil Sooklal, South Africa’s Ambassador at Large: Asia and BRICS, told a media briefing.
“What we have said and we continue to deepen is trading in local currencies and settlement in local currencies.”
Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov are among BRICS leaders that touted the idea of a common currency as the bloc aims to challenge the western dominance of global finance amid Russia’s sanctions-imposed exile after it invaded Ukraine last year.
This has pushed countries to find alternatives to the dollar, especially among non-U.S. allies.
However, India’s foreign minister said earlier this month that currencies would remain “very much a national issue for a long time to come”, while South Africa’s central bank governor has pointed out that a common currency requires a banking union, a fiscal union and macroeconomic convergence.
“BRICS started a process that has been expedited as a result of the conflict, as a result of unilateral sanctions,” Sooklal said. “The days of a dollar centric world is over, that’s a reality. We have a multipolar global trading system today.”
(This story has been corrected to say Thursday, not Wednesday, in paragraph 1)