Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has announced that Moscow and Beijing decided to postpone signing an agreement on mutual settlements in national currencies, even as the two countries strive to reduce the share of US dollar in bilateral trade.
Igor Shuvalov, head of the Russian state development bank Vnesheconombank, also told media that Moscow and Beijing can sign an agreement on settlements in national currencies by the end of the year.
"We did indeed discuss a memorandum. We decided step away from the Chinese side’s proposal, from this format. [We] agreed to continue negotiations between central banks, as well as between Russia’s Ministry of Finance and China’s Ministry of Commerce," Siluanov said.
He also said that Russia and China continue to increase the share of trade in local currencies, adding that light of the existing “restrictions”, the parties involved are interested in conducting mutual settlements without any intermediaries.
Earlier, Andrey Kostin, the president and chairman of VTB Bank's management board, outlined a four-part grand design to reduce Russia's dependence on the US dollar, which was largely endorsed by the Russian Ministry of Finance.
The plan envisaged accelerating the transition to export-import transactions in euros, yuan or rouble, transferring Russia's largest holdings from abroad to the country's jurisdiction and creating a Russian depository to place Eurobonds.