China’s RMB Yuan Overtakes US Dollar Use In China’s Foreign Trade For The First Time

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China’s RMB Yuan surpassed the US dollar to become the most-used currency in China’s cross-border transactions last month, according to data from China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE). Cross-border payments and receipts in RMB Yuan surged from the equivalent of US$434.5 billion in February to a record US$549.9 billion in March, according to calculations by SAFE.

The Chinese currency was utilized in 48.4% of all cross-border transactions, reflecting a trend of shifting away from the US dollar, as well as Beijing’s efforts to promote the use of the RMB Yuan. The share of the greenback in China’s international settlements dropped from 48.6% in February to 46.7% last month.

The volume of cross-border transactions covers both current and capital accounts, SAFE said. While the share of the RMB Yuan in total global settlements is still relatively low, it has been steadily on the rise over the past several years.

China’s intent to move away from using the US dollar in international trade has sped up against the backdrop of sweeping sanctions imposed by Western nations against Russia, a major global energy producer and exporter. Indian policymakers have also taken steps towards shifting away from the US dollar to Russian Rubles and Indian Rupees in mutual trade with Moscow.

Russia has also been boosting its use of alternative currencies in transactions since last year. President Vladimir Putin has suggested that the Chinese RMB Yuan should be used more widely, not only in trade with China, but also in Russia’s transactions with countries in Africa and Latin America. The latest data from the Bank of Russia shows that the RMB Yuan has also become a major player in Russia’s foreign trade and now accounts for more volumes than either the US dollar or Euro on the Moscow currency exchanges.

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