The BRICS initiatives towards a new financial architecture: an assessment with some proposals
It is heartening, the author of this paper argues, to observe that developing countries, led by China and other BRICS members have been successful to organise alternative sources of credit flows . aiming for financial stability, growth and development. Setting a goal to avoid the IMF type of loan conditionalities and the dominance of US dollar in global finance, these new institutions provide a much needed turn in the global financial architecture, especially in the background of the on-going demands for austerity as are currently imposed on Greece by the troika of IMF, the ECB and the EU. It is rather ironic that the Western financial institutions as well as the EU are not in a mood to provide any option to Greece short of complying with the disciplinary measures as a pre-condition for Greece to continue with the Eurozone and its common currency, the Euro.
Limitations of the on-going global financial architecture at command of the IMF and its member nations in the OECD brings to the fore the need for new institutions which can provide alternative solutions. The launch of the financial institutions by the BRICS seem to chart out an alternative route which may turn out as superior in achieving a superior global financial order.
The BRICS financial institutions, along with the proposed clearing account will herald a new set of financial architecture which has the potential to be beneficial, not just for the BRICS but for global financial system at large. Since those settlements will not rely on dollar or other major currencies as unit of account, exchange rate fluctuations across such currencies will not impact the cross rates between the individual BRICS currencies as long as kept frozen with forward contracts renewed over time.
Arrangements to use the trade surpluses of individual BRICS members, by those in deficit would add to demand within the BRICS by creating new channels for intra-BRICS trade. The transfer of surpluses to meet deficits can even be treated as a loan , to be adjusted to similar other transactions of the NDB.
Moreover, trade surpluses earned by individual members (say China) will remain within the Brics as investment and will not be used as assets in US dollar , avoiding sources of vulnerability. Finally the Brics may devise ways and means to channelize the capital flows in a manner which strengthens the Brics institutions and generate real demand, say with infrastructures, rather than spurious activities of a speculative nature.