Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) officially started operating as a Chinese renminbi (CNY) clearing bank in Russia on March 22, 2017, a move set to facilitate the use of the currency and cooperation in various fields between the two countries.
"Under the guidance of the governments and central banks of both countries, ICBC's Moscow branch will effectively fulfill its responsibility and obligation as a renminbi clearing bank by taking further advantage of its leading edge in renminbi businesses, providing customers with safe, high quality and convenient clearing services," said Hu Hao, ICBC's deputy governor, at the opening ceremony.
"Financial regulatory authorities of China and Russia have signed a series of major agreements, which marks a new level of financial cooperation," said Dmitry Skobelkin, deputy governor of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation.
"The launching of renminbi clearing services in Russia will further expand local settlement business and promote financial cooperation between the two countries," the official added.
With the continuous deepening of the Russia-China comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination in recent years, the two countries are now starting to enhance local currency cooperation.
At the end of 2015, the Russian central bank announced the inclusion of the renminbi in its national foreign exchange reserves, making it Russia's officially recognized reserve currency.
During Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to China in June last year, the central banks of the two countries signed a memorandum of cooperation in starting renminbi clearing services in Russia, just three months before ICBC's Moscow branch was appointed by China's central bank as the clearing house for settling renminbi transactions there.