A currency dealer waits for customers at a currency exchange. OPEC could switch the pricing of oil from dollars into euros within a decade, secretary general Abdullah al-Badri told a weekly magazine. [Agencies]
LONDON - OPEC could switch the pricing of oil from dollars into euros within a decade, secretary general Abdullah al-Badri told a weekly magazine.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries could adopt the euro to combat the decline of the dollar, Badri told the Middle East Economic Digest (MEED), published in London.
"Maybe we can price the oil in the euro. It can be done, but it will take time," he said.
Badri told MEED the change could happen within a decade, the magazine said.
MEED recalled that OPEC is under pressure from its members, who have seen their earnings decline sharply since 2000 due to its use of the dollar. The US currency has fallen 44 percent in value against the euro in that time.
The publication of Badri's remarks coincided with the euro rising against the dollar on the foreign exchanges Friday. The euro peaked of 1.4547 dollars at around 1800 GMT, though it has since weakened.
"In oil exchanges in New York, Singapore or Dubai, you can see the currency is the euro or the yen," Badri said.
"But as long as we see the final sign in dollar, that means the pricing is in dollars.
"It took two world wars and more than 50 years for the dollar to become the dominant currency. Now we are seeing another strong currency coming into the (frame), which is the euro."
Some OPEC members, notably Iran and Venezuela, have been calling for the group to study the declining dollar's effect on their economies. Iran has already begun pricing most of its oil in euros.
MEED recalled that the pricing of oil in dollars is a sensitive topic. Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal warned OPEC late last year that the dollar could plunge if OPEC publicly discussed abandoning it.
On Tuesday, Badri told reporters in London that several oil exporters were selling in dollars but buying other commodities in euros, calling the latter a strong currency.
The comments served to underline the difficulties currently facing oil exporting countries.