Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, has announced that the country will increase its use of local currencies in trade settlements as part of a plan to reduce reliance on the US dollar. Ibrahim acknowledged that completely eliminating dependence on the dollar would be challenging, but Malaysia is determined to be more proactive and assertive in using the ringgit for trade.
The move towards de-dollarization is gaining momentum in Southeast Asia, with Malaysia leading the way. The country has already established agreements with key trading partners such as Indonesia, Thailand, and China, with the goal of encouraging more trade and investment in local currencies. By trading in their respective national currencies, these countries aim to diminish the special status of the US dollar.
One of the main drivers behind Malaysia’s push for trade in local currencies is the sharp decline of the ringgit against the dollar. The national currency is currently trading near historical lows and has depreciated by around 7.6% against the greenback this year. Increasing settlements in local currencies will help mitigate some of the risks associated with a weakening exchange rate.
Economists in Southeast Asia have been highlighting the growing adoption of national currencies in international trade, arguing that the dollar and the financial institutions tied to it are becoming obsolete. They assert that it is time to shift away from the dollar as the primary reliance and embrace a more diversified approach.
This shift towards local currency settlements is not without its challenges, as it requires efforts to build trust and establish robust financial infrastructures. However, countries in the region recognize the benefits of reducing their vulnerability to fluctuations in the US dollar and increasing their economic independence.
Malaysia’s move towards de-dollarization aligns with a broader global trend. Other countries, including Russia and China, have been advocating for a more multipolar international monetary system, emphasizing the need to reduce reliance on the US dollar. These countries are exploring alternative mechanisms such as the use of digital currencies and expanding trade in national currencies.
As Malaysia takes further steps towards trading in local currencies, it is expected to pave the way for other countries in the region to follow suit. The shift towards de-dollarization has the potential to reshape global trade and finance, diversify currency reserves, and promote economic stability.
However, it is important to note that completely eliminating the US dollar’s influence is a long-term process that requires careful planning and coordination among nations. The transition will likely be gradual, with countries progressively increasing the use of their national currencies in trade settlements.
In conclusion, Malaysia’s decision to increase settlements in local currencies is part of a broader movement towards de-dollarization in Southeast Asia. By reducing reliance on the US dollar, countries in the region aim to strengthen their economic independence, mitigate currency risks, and promote a more multipolar global financial system. As Malaysia takes the lead, other countries are likely to follow suit, gradually reshaping the international monetary landscape.