A currency swap that puts more of the Chinese currency in the vaults in the Persian Gulf countries almost went unnoticed as Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao scouted the region last week for friendship, not oil - to paraphrase his words. As they wake up to bypassing the dollar as an intermediary in their oil trade with Asia, Gulf leaders know that in a volatile world the “people’s currency” smells as comforting as a cup of fresh Arabica. Read my article in Asia Times on the outcome of Wen’s hugely-successful regional tour of the Persian Gulf last week. An earlier article of mine had appeared in Asia Times assessing the directions of the Chinese diplomacy in the Persian Gulf region.
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