Cross-border settlement comes to Russia
In global trade, the beginning of the liberalization of China’s currency was one of the most important developments of 2010. In mid-December, its impact reached Russia when HSBC announced its first cross-border renminbi trade settlement transaction there for a subsidiary of sport retail chain Sportmaster. The advent of cross-border renminbi settlement means that Russian companies no longer have to convert Russian roubles to US dollars and then to Chinese renminbi. A process that used to take three days now takes one, substantially reducing traders’ exposure to exchange rate volatility.
“The beginning of cross-border yuan settlement for Russia is an important step for the country given the scale of trade between the two countries,” says Oleg Radichkin, head of payments and cash management, Russia, at HSBC. “There was around $50 billion of trade in 2010 and up to $80 billion is expected in 2011. We expect a third of the total to switch to yuan in coming years.”