ASEAN nations are studying ways to boost the use of local currencies in intra-regional trade, following similar moves by China.

Increased use of local currencies simplifies foreign exchange deal for importers and exporters. Although the US dollar remains the dominant trade currency, the global financial crisis has seen a shift in economic power away from the West and towards Asia and brought calls for less reliance on US currency.

ASEAN is making a renewed push for economic integration. ASEAN central bank governors are also said to be investigating a regional payment system for commercial trade, and the bloc completed a US$120bn regional currency swap with China, South Korea and Japan last month.

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