Russia, China Delay Ruble-Yuan Settlements Agreement

Moscow and Beijing have decided to postpone the signing of an agreement on mutual settlements in national currencies, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has announced, according to RNS.

The two countries strive to reduce the share of U.S. dollar in bilateral trade amid U.S. sanctions and trade tensions. In November, Siluanov claimed that the draft of such memorandum is ready and that Moscow and Beijing agreed to have a working group finalize the document and prepare it for signing in the near future.

Igor Shuvalov, head of the Russian state development bank Vnesheconombank (VEB), also told media that Moscow and Beijing can sign an agreement on settlements in national currencies by the end of the year.

“We did indeed discuss a memorandum. We decided to step away from the Chinese side’s proposal, from this format. We agreed to continue negotiations between central banks, as well as between Russia’s Ministry of Finance and China’s Ministry of Commerce,” Siluanov said.

He also said that Russia and China continue to increase the share of trade in local currencies, adding that light of the existing “restrictions”, the parties involved are interested in conducting mutual settlements without any intermediaries.

Earlier, Andrey Kostin, the president and chairman of VTB Bank’s management board, outlined a four-part grand design to reduce Russia’s dependence on the US dollar, which was largely endorsed by the Russian Ministry of Finance.

The plan envisaged accelerating the transition to export-import transactions in euros, yuan or rouble, transferring Russia’s largest holdings from abroad to the country’s jurisdiction and creating a Russian depository to place Eurobonds.