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Russian firms finding ways to do non-US dollar deals


Several major Russian firms have set out to find financial mechanisms to bypass the US dollar in international transactions.

Russia’s Central Bank announced this week that the volume of non-dollar dealings was growing, with the share of rouble settlements in the Russia-China and Russia-India goods trade now between 10 and 20 percent, media reported on Thursday. The share was higher in the service industry, the bank added.

Some of the big Russian firms that have made progress in using other currencies to reduce reliance on the US dollar included Alrosa diamond company, Surgutneftegaz energy firm, Rusagro agricultural company and Norilsk Nickel mining company.

The file photo, taken on September 17, 2006, shows an excavation machine inside a mine of Russian Alrosa company outside the town of Mirny, Russia. (Photo by AFP)

Despite the efforts, sources said, Russian firms still rely heavily on the dollar in their international deals.

In addition, most of Russia’s foreign earnings come from oil sales that are also sold in dollars.

To make matters more difficult, foreign banks which have major activities with American firms may still be wary of business with any entity under US sanctions even if transactions are not in dollars, bankers say.

The United States and its allies imposed sanctions on Russia in 2014 over Crimea’s separation form Ukraine and reunification with the Russian Federation.

New sanctions were imposed in response to alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US Presidential Election.

Washington said in August that more sanctions would be slapped on Moscow over the Kremlin’s alleged use of a nerve agent against a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain.

American lawmakers have said the fresh sanctions, which could be declared in November, might target dollar transactions.

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