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Yuan most traded foreign currency on Moscow Exchange in 2023

Yuan rises

The volume of yuan traded rose three-fold to 34.15 trillion rubles ($385 billion) over the course of 2023

China’s yuan was the most traded foreign currency on the Moscow Exchange last year, deposing the US dollar.

The renminbi accounted for 42% of all foreign currency trades on Russia’s biggest bourse, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing data collected by Russian news outlet Kommersant Daily. The volume of yuan traded rose three-fold to 34.15 trillion rubles ($385 billion) over the course of 2023.

In the meantime, the dollar made up 39.5% of those transactions, down from more than 63% in 2022, as trading volumes slipped by over a third to 49.90 trillion rubles ($560 billion).

The shift to lower the greenback’s use, widely known as dedollarisation, gained momentum after the West levied heavy sanctions on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

That largely shut out Moscow from the global financial system, compelling it to rely more on currencies other than the dollar and euro. In December, the Russian government said Russia and China have almost totally phased out the use of the dollar in bilateral trade.

In the meantime, countries such as China and India have also been trying to use non-dollar currencies for trade transactions and international loans.

China especially has been aggressive in its efforts to internationalise the yuan. Beijing has been signing currency swap agreements and dispensing yuan-denominated loans.

And its dedollarisation drive seems to be working: in November, the yuan was the fourth most used currency in global payments, doubling from 2022 levels to a record 4.61%.

In September, the yuan also took second place in global trade finance, deposing the euro. That is as Beijing’s lower interest rates made trade financing more affordable, the Financial Times reported.

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