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BRICS Summit’s Bold Gambit: The Drive Towards a New Currency Takes Centre Stage


The BRICS summit serves as a gathering of strategic minds hailing from Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa — a formidable union constituting nearly a quarter of global GDP and embracing 40% of the world’s populace. This annual convergence navigates a spectrum of vital concerns: trade, investment, innovation, development, and the orchestration of global governance. The 15th BRICS summit is set to unfold from August 22 to 24, 2023, with Sandton, South Africa’s iconic skyline, painting the backdrop.

At the epicentre of this summit rests a notion that could potentially recalibrate the global financial paradigm: the inception of a unified BRICS currency. It is a proposition with profound implications, wherein some BRICS members are aiming to offer an alternative to the dominant US Dollar, which holds the reins of international trade and finance with an iron grip—commanding 88% of global transactions and 58% of foreign exchange reserves. Yet, BRICS nations have weathered the dollar’s storm—navigating sanctions, trade tensions, debt quandaries, and inflationary waves.

Endeavours to free their economies from the dollar’s grasp are well underway. Consider Russia and China begging to trade in their own currencies, or the flourishing partnerships fostering alternatives such as the Euro and Gold. The potent Yuan has knitted stronger ties between Brazil, India, and China, while the New Development Bank (NDB) stands tall as a testament of their collective might—enabling BRICS to channel investments into robust infrastructure and sustainable dreams, all while dealing in their own currencies.

However, fashioning a new currency is like sculpting a masterpiece. The path forward is laden with challenges, such as a delicate choreography of design, governance, issuance, distribution, exchange rates, and global acceptance. As they embark on this journey, we also have to acknowledge the differences in economic magnitude, structure, policy orientation, and strategic visions between these countries. These divergent elements, while inspiring, present challenges to the harmonious orchestration of a new currency.

The dollar’s supremacy will not crumble overnight. Its roots run deep, fortified by the intricate web of global finance and unwavering trust. Governments, banks, corporations, investors, and individuals alike view the Dollar as a paragon of value, a cornerstone of commerce, a sanctuary for assets, and a bedrock for reserves. The allure of the US financial markets adds to its enduring power.

The pursuit, though risky, promises metamorphosis. Imagine a new BRICS currency, vibrant and resilient, standing shoulder to shoulder with the Dollar. Should it emerge as a contender, it could provide a much-needed alternative, branching out international trade and finance. The repercussions would resonate, and potentially see the dollar’s dominance challenged, its grip weakened, and the stage set for a more diverse financial narrative. Beyond the tangible, if successful the new currency could shield the countries within BRICS from the tempestuous winds of external shocks and dollar-driven fluctuations. It could amplify their voice in global economic governance, adding to the world’s economic discourse.

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Francois du Plessis

Market Analyst

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