Russia is ready to increase settlements in yuan in its foreign trade, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday during talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, who is in Moscow on a three-day official visit.
“We are for the use of Chinese yuan in settlements between Russia and the countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. I am sure that these forms of settlements in yuan will be developed between Russian partners and their counterparts in third countries,” Putin said.
China’s trade with Russia hit a record high in 2022, growing by nearly a third amid Western sanctions against Moscow. Bilateral trade is on pace to hit over $200 billion this year.
The latest data from the Bank of Russia shows the yuan has become a major player in Russia’s foreign trade, with its share in the country’s import settlements jumping to 23% by the end of last year from only 4% in January 2022. The yuan’s share in export settlements also surged, from 0.5% to 16%.
“It is important that national currencies are increasingly used in mutual trade. This practice should be further encouraged, and the mutual presence of financial and banking structures in the markets of our countries should be expanded,” Putin added.
Meanwhile, the share of the US dollar and euro in Russia’s export settlements last year dropped substantially, from 65% in January 2022 to 46% in December.
In February, the Chinese currency overtook the dollar as the most traded currency on the Russian stock market for the first time ever, according to data from the Moscow Exchange.