SANYA: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - the BRICS group of fastest growing economies - Thursday signed an agreement to use their own currencies instead of the predominant US dollar in issuing credit or grants to each other.
The agreement, the first-of-its-kind, was signed at the 3rd BRICS summit here attended by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, China's Hu Jintao, Brazil's Dilma Rousseff, Russia's Dmitry Medvedev and South Africa's Jacob Zuma.
"Our designated banks have signed a framework agreement on financial cooperation which envisages grant of credit in local currencies and cooperation in capital markets and other financial services," Manmohan Singh told reporters at a news conference with other BRICS leaders.
But the agreement is confined to credit and not trade. BRICS economies hold 40 percent of the world's currency reserves, the majority of which is still in US dollars.
The BRICS summit is being held in the coastal city of Sanya in China's Hainan island.
The joint presser was held after the leaders held deliberations on the international situation, and financial, development, climate and security issues.
Manmohan Singh said: "We have had very fruitful discussions. We have reviewed the international situation, discussed international economic, financial and trade issues, the challenges of sustainable development, food security, energy security and climate change."
The grouping is significant because it is expected to have a healthy global presence in the future as the member-countries are the fastest growing economies and are projected to contribute 48 percent to the global economy in the next decade.
At present they account for 40 percent of the world's population and 20 percent of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).