Kazakh president blames dollar for economic crisis

ASTANA, March 11 Wed Mar 11, 2009 1:09pm EDT

ASTANA, March 11 (Reuters) - Kazakhstan, abandoning its usual balancing act to keep good ties with both the United States and Russia, blamed the dollar's dominance for global economic problems and argued for a new international currency.

"The flaws of the existing global currency system lie at the heart of the current global crisis," said President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who last month proposed calling the new currency "acmetal", combining the words "acme" and "capital".

"Its players are forced to abide by rules imposed on them by others. They are set by a narrow circle and often violate the majority's interests," he told an economic forum on Wednesday, urging groups such as G20 to consider a new world currency.

"I believe a new global currency should serve as the foundation for a new harmonious system. The global currency market is not competitive. And that means it is not civilised."

His words echoed a statement made earlier in the day by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who said the world "capitalist economy" was close to collapse. [nDAH129851]

Upset by price rises and falling incomes, many in the vast Muslim nation -- Central Asia's biggest oil producer -- are increasingly critical of the government's handling of the crisis which has brought Kazakh economic growth to a standstill.

Nazarbayev, 68, did not explain how he thought introducing a single currency would help fight the global crisis. (Reporting by Raushan Nurshayeva; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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