ISTANBUL: Big oil producing nations denied on Tuesday a newspaper report that Gulf Arab states were in secret talks with Russia, China, Japan and France to replace the U.S. dollar with a basket of currencies in trading oil.
The U.S. dollar eased in response to the report, which was written by The Independent's Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk and cited unidentified sources in Gulf Arab states and Chinese banking sources in Hong Kong.
It said the proposal was for trade in crude oil to move over nine years to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen, the Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, which includes Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
But top officials of Saudia Arabia and Russia, speaking on the sidelines of International Monetary Fund meetings in Istanbul, denied there were such talks.
Asked by reporters about the newspaper story, Saudi Arabia's central bank chief Muhammad al-Jasser said: "Absolutely incorrect." He repeated the same response when asked whether Saudi Arabia was in such talks.
Russia's deputy finance minister Dmitry Pankin said: "We did not discuss this at all."
Algerian Finance Minister Karim Djoudi told Reuters: "Oil producing countries need to stabilise revenues but...I don't see a need for oil trade to be denominated differently.
"But we are at the IMF conference where all sorts of subjects are raised and discussed," he added.