China Allows Yuan to Start Trading Against Ruble
China started allowing the yuan to trade against the Russian ruble from today in the interbank market as policy makers promote the currency’s use in global trade and finance.
The move will help “facilitate bilateral trade between China and Russia and help develop yuan trade settlements,” said a statement published on the website of the China Foreign Exchange Trade System, a subsidiary of the People’s Bank of China. The ruble traded at 4.6711 per yuan as of 5:30 p.m. in Shanghai, according to CFETS data. It was little changed from yesterday at 4.6712, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“The pace of internationalizing yuan is accelerating,” said Zhao Qingming, a senior analyst in Beijing at China Construction Bank Corp., the country’s second-largest lender. “The direct trading between yuan and ruble will help expand trade settlements in the two currencies.”
China is allowing greater use of its currency for cross- border transactions to reduce reliance on the U.S. dollar, after Premier Wen Jiabao said in March he is “worried” about holdings of assets denominated in the greenback. Purchases of U.S. currency to contain yuan gains contributed to a $194 billion increase in the nation’s foreign-exchange reserves in the third quarter, boosting the total to a record $2.65 trillion.
Only One Transaction
Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. and Bank of China Ltd. completed the first trade between the two currencies, CFETS said in a separate statement issued later today. The transaction amount was 1 million yuan ($151,000), it said. There was one trade today, according to Bloomberg data obtained from CFETS.
The reference rate, which is published at around 9:15 a.m. every day, was set at 4.6711 per yuan. The currency is allowed to trade up to 5 percent on either side of the fixing, according to the CFETS statement.
China started permitting the Malaysian ringgit to trade against the yuan on Aug. 19. Traders can also buy and sell the yuan against the dollar, the euro, the yen, the Hong Kong dollar and the British pound.
The yuan declined 0.03 percent to 6.6416 per dollar. The ruble gained 0.1 percent to 31.006.
The value of international trade transactions settled in the Chinese currency totaled 126.5 billion yuan in the third quarter, 160 percent more than in the three months through June, the People’s Bank of China reported on Nov. 2.
China first approved yuan use for trade settlement in July 2009 and Zheng Yang, an official at the People’s Bank of China’s Shanghai branch, said on Sept. 27 that the value of such transactions may reach 200 billion yuan by the end of this year. The total for the first nine months was 197.1 billion yuan.
CFETS also said it will consider allowing trading in forwards and swaps between the yuan and the ruble. China’s Premier Wen Jiabao will visit Russia and Tajikistan from Nov. 22-25, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Nov. 16.
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