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Russia, China sign deal to bypass U.S. dollar

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China-Russian oil dealIn a symbolic blow to U.S. global financial hegemony, Russia and China took a small step toward undercutting the domination of the U.S. dollar as the international reserve currency on Tuesday when Russia’s second biggest financial institution, VTB, signed a deal with the Bank of China to bypass the dollar and pay each other in domestic currencies.

The so-called Agreement on Cooperation — signed in the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is on a visit to Shanghai — could be followed by a long-awaited announcement this week of a massive natural gas deal 10 years in the making.

“Our countries have done a huge job to reach a new historic landmark,” Putin said on Tuesday, making note of the $100 billion in annual trade that has been achieved between the two countries.

Demand for the dollar, which has long served as a safe and reliable reserve currency in international transactions, has allowed the U.S. to borrow almost unlimited cash and spend well beyond its means, which some economists say has afforded the United States an outsize influence on world affairs.

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