French finance minister and business call for end to US dollar dominance in trade

by The Daily Lede

michel-sapin-2-de-croissance-en-2014In the wake of the record $9bn fine imposed on BNP Paribas Bank by US authorities for violating sanctions, France has called for a “re-balancing” of the currencies used for global payments.

French finance minister Michel Sapin has said the BNP Paribas case “should make us realize the necessity of using a variety of currencies”.

In an interview with Financial Times Mr. Sapin was quoted as saying: “We [Europeans] are selling to ourselves in dollars, for instance when we sell planes. Is that necessary? I don’t think so. I think a rebalancing is possible and necessary, not just regarding the euro but also for the big currencies of the emerging countries, which account for more and more of global trade.”

The chief executive of Total, Christophe de Margerie, expressed his opinion saying, he saw no reason for oil purchases to be made in dollars, even if the benchmark price in price was to remain in dollars.

“A refinery could take that price and using the euro-dollar exchange rate on any given day, agree to make the payment in euros,” he said.

One ceo at CAC40 industrial group also agreed with Mr. Sapin saying “Companies like ours are in a bind because we sell a lot in dollars but we do not always want to deal with all the US rules and regulations.”

EU zone finance ministers are scheduled to meet Monday in Brussels and Mr. Sapin said he would address the need for an alternative to the dollar.  He did not go into further detail in regards as to what steps may be taken.