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Ending dollar peg won't solve Gulf inflation: Paulson

David Lawder
Monday, June 2, 2008

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said on Sunday leaders of Gulf oil producing states had told him that abandoning their currency pegs to the dollar will not solve their inflation problems.

Paulson, two-thirds of the way through a four-day trip to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, said leaders in the region have "quite an awareness that the peg does not influence inflation to a significant degree.

"They recognize that inflation is the overriding issue ... Ending the peg is not the solution to the inflation problem."

However Paulson said he could not rule out any moves by Gulf states to abandon the peg, reiterating his view that currency policy decisions were sovereign matters.

Five of the six Gulf oil producers -- except for Kuwait -- peg their currencies to the dollar, which means that they must match U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate cuts even as their economies surge on record high oil prices.

Some in the region argue that this and the dollar's decline in recent months is fuelling inflation, which might be better controlled by pegging to a basket of currencies.

An economic adviser to Qatar's ruler has said the Gulf state needs to drop its peg to the dollar because its economy is surging while the U.S. economy is slowing, London-based MEED reported on late on Friday.

Full article here.

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