The share of the Chinese currency in transactions will rise tenfold this year, Herman Gref predicts
The Chinese yuan has become a major player in Russia’s foreign trade and its share in the country’s cross-border settlements is expected to grow tenfold, Herman Gref, the head of Russia’s largest state-owned lender, Sber, said on Tuesday.
The share of the yuan in Russia’s export settlements jumped from 2% to 18% and in import payments from 5% to 27% over the past year, according to Gref.
Speaking at a Russian-Chinese Business Forum in Shanghai, he highlighted the “significant” interest in national currencies, and in the yuan in particular, among the bank’s clients.
“In 2023, we expect a tenfold increase in the number of transactions in yuan compared to last year,” he said.
Gref called Beijing’s Belt and Road infrastructure and investment project an important model for the development of global infrastructure. He added that Sber, as a systemically important lender in the Russian economy, would be willing to take part in the project.
Two-thirds of current trade between Russia and China is carried out in the national currencies, the yuan and the ruble, according to the Bank of Russia.
The latest trading data shows that almost all of Beijing’s purchases of crude oil, gas, coal, and certain metals from Moscow are now settled in yuan.
A shift from the US dollar and euro in international trade has accelerated against the backdrop of sweeping sanctions imposed by Western nations against Russia, which is a major global energy producer and exporter.
The yuan surpassed the dollar to become the most-used currency in China’s cross-border transactions in March, according to calculations based on data from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.
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