by Tyler Durden
commercial sea port
Whether in response to rising scorching tensions with the US, or
simply to provide support for the ruble, on Tuesday Russian
Vladimir Putin instructed the
government to approve legislation making the ruble the main currency
of exchange at all Russian seaports by next year, RT
reported citing the Kremlin
The head of Russian antitrust watchdog
FAS (Federal Antimonopoly Service)
Igor Artemyev, many services in Russian seaports are still
priced in US dollars, even though such ports are state-owned.
So, in order to "protect
the interests" of dockworkers and their complies with foreign
currency obligations, the government was instructed to set a
transition period before switching to ruble settlements.
The proposal to switch port tariffs to rubles was first proposed by
Putin a year and a half ago, but it was mothballed only to pick up
speed again in recent days.
Originally, the idea was rejected by large transport companies,
which said they prefer to keep revenues in dollars and other foreign
currencies due to sharp fluctuations on the volatile ruble.
However, the Russian
anti-trust watchdog said the decision would force foreigners to buy
Russian currency, which would stabilize rates and be good for the
In 2016, Artemyev's agency filed several lawsuits against the
largest Russian port group NMTP.
According to FAS, the group of companies set tariffs for
transshipment in dollars and raised tariffs from January 2015,
The watchdog ruled that
NMTP abused its dominant position in the market and imposed a 9.74
billion rubles fine, or about $165 million at the current exchange
The decision was
overturned by a court in Moscow in July this year.
While Russia's stated motive for the unexpected redenomination of
trade at some of its largest trading hubs has to do with domestic
economic policies, there is speculation that the timing of this
decision has been influenced by the recent diplomatic
fallout between the US and Russia, the result of which would be
an heightened demand for the ruble, especially since it is rather
complicated to find alternative sources for Russia's largest export
by a wide margin:
And while it is still
early to discuss whether Moscow has launched the "Petrorouble",
Putin's rejection of the Petrodollar in yet another aspect of
economic life will raise quite a few eyebrows around the globe.