October 28, 2008 / 10:54 AM / 9 years ago

Russia, China call for trade in more currencies

MOSCOW, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Russian and Chinese leaders called on Tuesday for world finance to use a wider range of currencies, and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin suggested bilateral trade in roubles and yuan rather than dollars.

"At the moment the world which is based on the dollar is suffering serious problems ... The situation on the global financial markets remains difficult," Putin said at a Russo-Chinese forum in Moscow.

"In such conditions, we need to think about improving the payments system for bilateral trade, including the use of the national currencies."

In recent years, Russia has gradually decreased the dollar's share in its $0.5 trillion gold and forex reserves, and has started monitoring the rouble's exchange rate versus a euro-dollar basket rather than just against the U.S. currency.

Russian officials have previously suggested that the country's oil and gas could be traded in roubles.

China does not disclose the composition of its $1.9 trillion reserves -- the world's largest -- but the majority of the money is thought to be held in dollars.

"We need to diversify the global currency system, to support its stability through the use of different currencies," said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

The dollar has gained around 10 percent versus a basket of major currencies this month to hit 2-1/2 year highs .DXY, propelled up by global risk aversion.

China's central bank has kept the yuan stable against the broadly stronger dollar in recent weeks [CNY/], while Russia has been selling tens of billions of dollars from its reserves to support the rouble against the euro-dollar basket RUS=MCX.

Reporting by Oleg Shchedrov, writing by Toni Vorobyova; Editing by Ruth Pitchford

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