Russia has increased the use of its national currency, the rouble, in transactions with BRICS partners Brazil, India, China, and South Africa, increasing the currency's share by 720%, amounting to 9.4% of all transactions over the period between 2013 and 2018, Russian international consulting firm FinExpertiza reported. In total, the rouble was used in $6.3 billion worth of transactions with these states.
The biggest growth in rouble-based transactions was achieved with India, where the Russian national currency comprised 37.2% — an increase of 3,380%. Russia's largest trading partner in the bloc, China, witnessed an increase in the volume of rouble-denominated deals by 520%.
Other BRICS countries have also exhibited growth in the volume of mutual transactions in their national currencies, as well as in euros, with the former comprising up to 4% and the latter up to 9.5% of all transactions between members of the group. The growth was achieved due to a dramatic fall in volume of dollar-denominated transactions — greenbacks now make up 77%, which means a 20% reduction over the course of the last five years.
"An increase in commodity turnover became the driver for switching to settlements in national currencies between the BRICS countries while reducing the share of settlements in dollars", Elena Trubnikova, the chairwoman of FinExpertiza's board, commented on the change.
Russia has been systematically reducing the share of its investments in dollar-denominated assets. Namely, it sold off a significant portion of its US securities, while at the same time actively building up its gold reserves. The shift in the Russian central bank's policy began after Washington initiated a campaign of imposing unilateral sanctions against Russia under the pretext of Moscow's alleged involvement in the Ukrainian crisis in 2014 and alleged meddling in the US presidential election in 2016.
Washington has failed to provide any credible evidence to substantiate the accusations, which Russia has vehemently denied on multiple occasions.