On Tuesday, while meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping, who is in Moscow for a three day official visit, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia is prepared now to increase its settlements in Chinese yuan.

Putin said, “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.”

The Russian President noted that already two-thirds of the trade which occurs between Russia and China is settled in national currencies, ie the ruble and the yuan.

In 2022, Chinese trade with Russia reached a record high, growing by almost a third, even as the West levied economic sanctions on Moscow in an effort to isolate the Russian republic. Currently economists note that bilateral trade is on track to reach more than $200 billion this year.

Data from the Bank of Russia shows that Russia is already making extensive use of the yuan in global trade, as its share in the nation’s import settlements had increased to 23% by the end of 2022, compared to the only 4% which it comprised in January of 2022. In export settlements, the yuan’s share also rose markedly, from 0.5% to 16%.

Putin also noted, “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.”

At the same time, the share of the dollar and euro in Moscow’s export settlements in 2022 dropped markedly, from 65% in January of 2022, to 46% by December.

According to data from the Moscow Exchange, the yuan surpassed the dollar as the most traded currency on the Russian stock market for the first time in history in February.

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