China’s ICBC to open clearing bank in Russia to boost yuan-ruble trade

© Charles Platiau
The world's largest bank by assets and market cap, China's ICBC, is planning to open a clearing bank in Russia for trade settlements in yuan and rubles.

"ICBC, as the biggest bank dealing with CNY [Chinese yuan/renminbi] business in the world, is ready to open a CNY clearing bank in Russia," ICBC Moscow President Song Yang told RIA Novosti on Monday.

According to Song, the yuan share of China’s cross-border settlements surged to 23.6 percent last year.

“As of the end of May 2015, the People’s Bank of China had bilateral swap agreements with the central banks of 32 countries and regions. The value was 3.1 trillion yuan ($481 billion)," he said.

People’s Bank of China and the Central Bank of Russia are to talk about creating a yuan clearing bank, Song said. This would allow Russia to tap into an alternative source of liquidity and issue yuan bonds.

In terms of corporate finance, ICBC has maintained business contacts with Russian customers in many industries, according to the bank president. In addition to energy and aviation, they also include electricity, mining, chemical, oil and gas, telecommunication, retail, machinery and metallurgy.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) was created in 1984. In 2015, the bank topped Forbes’ Global 2000 rating of the largest public companies for the third consecutive year. By the end of 2014, the assets of the bank amounted to 20.61 trillion yuan ($3.2 trillion), which makes it the largest bank in the world in terms of assets.