Armenian PM: It is in Armenia's interests to introduce CIS regional currency

Tigran SargsyanSpeaking on MIR TV, the Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan said Armenia is interested in using the Russian rouble for transactions with CIS countries.
According to Regnum news agency report, Tigran Sargsyan said “a whole package of suggestions” on this subject has been proposed by the Armenian Central bank three years ago. Notably, three years ago Tigran Sargsyan was the head of Armenia’s Central Bank.

Sargsyan underlined, that a project is on the table of the CIS Intergovernmental Bank. According to him, this bank, where are represented all CIS countries’ Central Banks could be an appropriate instrument.

“In case the Central Banks will use these currencies and consider them as own reserve currencies, it will be the first step towards calculations in rubles between CIS countries, and in its turn, it means, that the Central Bank of Armenia will have to recognize ruble as its reserve currency. Hereinafter, our commercial banks can maintaine a ruble accounts in Armenian Central Bank and so on. It is quite a logical scheme, and Armenia is very interested ruble to become a currency, to carry out a transaction not only with Russia but also with CIS other countries. We will make every effort to turn it to reality”, — said Sargsyan.

Interestingly these words come days after the agreement for Russia to provide Armenia with $500 million loan, and also following the report about Gazprom rising gas prices for Armenia from $110 to $154 per thousand cubic meters starting from April 1, 2009. That is: 1) looks like all transactions between Armenia and Russia at this point are done in US dollars; 2) If Russia wanted to push Armenia into using its weakening rouble – this is just the time.
On another note, this might actually prove beneficial – especially using the rouble as reserve currency. I’d rather trust the authoritarian Russian government and it’s rouble – backed by world’s largest oil and gas reserves, than Armenia’s government with it’s pointless struggle to maintain the Armenian dram rate at an illogically high level because a couple of major importer-oligarchs say so.

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