Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Iran forcing more Dollar Doldrums

Japanese investors are selling their dollars on the Tokyo Financial Exchange with worries about a recession in the U.S. economy.

The dollar also recently had its biggest weekly loss this year against the euro after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke signaled he may cut interest rates further amid mounting concern that the economy is headed for a recession.

Iran, OPEC's second largest exporter, has already cut all of its ties with the greenback with respect to oil transactions.

And on Sunday, Iran established its first oil products bourse in a free trade zone on the Persian Gulf Island of Kish. Oil and petrochemical products will be traded in Iranian Rials, as well as all other hard currencies, the statement quoted Iranian Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari as saying. About 20 brokers are already active in the market, it added.

As the fourth-largest oil producer in the world, Iran has a measure of influence over international oil markets. The country ranks second for output among OPEC Countries, and controls about 5 percent of the global oil supply. Tehran also partially controls the Persian Gulf's Strait of Hormuz, through which much of the world's oil supply must pass.

Now, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which supplies 40 percent of the global crude demand, plans to discuss a proposal by Iran and Venezuela to price oil in non-dollar currencies.

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