Moscow to start trading the yuan



Russia is planning on making an important step on the way to turning Moscow into a new international financial centre. The Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange (MICEX) is planning on launching trade of the Chinese yuan before the end of the year, Nikita Bekasov, an official representative for MICEX, told RN.

It is obvious that interest in the Chinese currency will be very high in Russia. Since the beginning of the year, the economic crisis has stopped having an effect on bilateral trade, and Russian-Chinese trade volumes have again begun to rise. Various estimates have it that trade between Russia and China could be 50-60 billion dollars by the end of 2010. Bekasov says that at least 30 banks are interested in this new instrument in Russia, including credit organisations from Siberia and the Far East – Russian regions bordering China.

In making clear that launching yuan/rouble trading does not entail a complete transfer of settlements between Russia and China to national currencies, Bekasov said: “providing the currency exchange market with a new segment will expand opportunities for banks and economic constituents to use our national currencies, therefore this can become one of the prerequisites for making the yuan and rouble global reserve currencies.” It is obvious, however, that direct settlements without passing through the interim euro or dollar are both cheaper and faster. Switching to these settlements will be a positive effect not only on companies’ profit, but also on bilateral trade volumes.

Bekasov says that for the moment things concerning other currency pairs, such as the rouble/rupi or rouble/peso, have not been discussed. It is clear that Russia's trade volumes with India and Brazil are, even combined, much less than those with China. At the beginning of the year, however, Russian-Indian and Russian-Brazilian trade demonstrated very impressive growth. Data covering five months (compared with the same period in 2009) showed that trade volume between Russia and India increased by 35%, coming to 3.41 billion dollars. Russian-Brazilian trade volume grew by 49% over the first half of the year to three billion dollars.

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