The most popular currency for Russians to save their savings is not the dollar or the euro, but the Chinese yuan. According to the Central Bank, last year the “Chinese” was ahead of the “American” not only in the business category, but also in the investments of individuals. The regulator provides such information in the January Financial Market Risk Review.
In 2023, the total volume of funds in Chinese currency in the accounts of companies and citizens in Russian banks reached $68.7 billion. Whereas in the American unit of account – 64.7 billion. In parallel, there was a sharp increase in the volume of loans to legal entities in yuan: over 12 months – 3.6 times.
Also, the Chinese yuan has become the main currency when paying for Russian goods. Its share in the structure of export payments reached 35.8% ($14 billion), and in the structure of import transactions increased to 37% – which is equal to $11.4 billion in monetary terms.
The Central Bank associates such dynamics with a number of factors, including the conversion of previously issued loans in dollars and euros, as well as an increase in demand from Russian exporters in the context of high ruble rates.
One thing is clear: the country’s de-dollarization program is yielding results. If not throughout the world, then in Russia, the American unit of account has been defeated. And since a holy place is never empty, the yuan took its place.
The fight against the dependence of the Russian economy on the dollar began in 2018 and was planned until 2024. As you can see, it is completed within the specified time frame. True, at that time Anton Siluanov stated that the program did not involve abandoning the dollar and that it would not in any way affect the foreign currency accounts of depositors in Russian banks. Due to the geopolitical factor and financial sanctions, it did not turn out quite as expected. But, as you know, the winners are not judged.
“The reason for the yuan’s emergence as a leader in Russia is simple: bank deposits in dollars and euros are not available today, so our fellow citizens decided to switch to yuan,” says financial analyst Sergei Drozdov. – Fluctuations in the exchange rate of this currency are not as large as that of the ruble, and it is considered more reliable. The past year clearly showed that when the ruble begins to lose ground, it becomes cheaper in relation to all world currencies. Including the yuan, although it does not belong to the main world currencies. However, the Chinese economy is quite strong, some analysts even put it in 1st place in the world. It is clear that Russians want to save their money from inflation by choosing yuan. There are essentially no other alternatives today.
“But people should be aware of the risks when opening such bank accounts. Or are there practically none?
– Although the Chinese economy is large, different options cannot be ruled out. Firstly, the yuan exchange rate is not exactly a market rate; it is regulated by the PRC government, based on the interests of its own economy. In addition, if we talk hypothetically, there are geopolitical risks and threats. For example, trade wars, aggravation of the situation in some parts of the planet, economic friction with the United States… Beijing may slightly devalue its currency. But in any case, the yuan is stronger than the ruble.
– Are Russians abandoning their usual dollars and euros due to fears that the “American” and “European” will be completely banned in our country?
– We are talking about bank accounts. You simply cannot hold them in this currency. And if some banks have such a service, then you will have to pay huge commissions. You can buy cash dollars or euros. But this doesn’t suit everyone. For this reason, our fellow citizens switched en masse to yuan.
– Does the dollar still have a chance to get ahead? What is going to happen?
– Many things. For example, reaching certain agreements with the West, lifting economic sanctions. Our financial system must be reconnected to the international payment system, from which most Russian banks are disconnected. In my opinion, this is still unlikely.
– So, we will gradually forget about the dollar?
– No, we remember about him and follow his course. The same yuan is in any case traded through a cross rate against the dollar.
– It’s sad that our ruble does not inspire much confidence among the population…
– This is the lot of all economies of developing countries – that’s what Russia is called in financial circles. When problems arise, currencies are periodically subject to devaluation. This is what our monetary authorities periodically do.
– Could the situation on the foreign exchange market change before the presidential elections?
– I believe that now everything will be stable, the dollar exchange rate will be in the range of 88-93 rubles.