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Russia, China agree on more trade currency swaps to bypass dollar

Published time: August 08, 2014 16:11
Edited time: August 09, 2014 16:33
Reuters/Petar Kujundzic

Reuters/Petar Kujundzic

The Russian and Chinese central banks have agreed on a draft currency swap agreement, which will allow them to increase trade in domestic currencies and cut the dependence on the US dollar in bilateral payments.

The draft document between the Central Bank of Russia and the People’s Bank of China on national currency swaps has been agreed by the parties,” and is at the stage of formal approval procedures, ITAR-TASS quotes the Russian regulator’s office on Thursday.

The Russian Central Bank is not giving precise details on the size of the currency swaps, nor when it will be launched. It says this will depend on demand.

According to the bank, the agreement will serve as an additional instrument for ensuring international financial stability. Also, it will offer the possibility to obtain liquidity in critical situations.

The agreement will stimulate further development of direct trade in yuan and rubles on the domestic foreign exchange markets of Russia and China,” the Russian regulator said.

Currently, over 75 percent of payments in Russia-China trade settlements are made in US dollars, according to Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper.

READ MORE: Russian companies ‘de-dollarize’ and switch to yuan, other Asian currencies

In early July, the Central Bank’s chairwoman Elvira Nabiullina said Moscow and Beijing were close to reaching an agreement on conducting swap operations in national currencies to boost trade. The deal was later discussed during her trip to China.

President Vladimir Putin, during his visit to Shanghai in May, said cooperation between Russian and Chinese banks was growing, and the two sides were set to continue developing the financial infrastructure.

Work is underway to increase the amount of mutual payments in national currencies, and we intend to consider new financial instruments,” Putin said after talks with President Xi Jinping.

Later on, during his meeting with leading international news agencies on the sidelines of the St Petersburg’s economic forum, Putin said that Russia and China had made “the first modest steps” in using national currencies in international settlements. He added that the two countries were going to continue exploring opportunities for working together.

A currency swap is widely used and allows simultaneously exchanging a specific amount of one currency for another currency with two different settlement dates.