Much Ado About Nothing: China, Russia Drop Dollar In Bilateral Trade

Tyler Durden's picture

Somehow the China Daily story we pointed out yesterday morning that China and Russia are expanding their trading terms and will conduct all bilateral trade exclusively in local currencies, thus dropping the dollar as an intermediary, is only today starting to make the rounds. Alas, this story is nothing but more posturing for several reasons: Bloomberg notes: "China and Russia will drop the U.S. dollar for bilateral trade and use their own currencies for settlement, China Daily reported, citing Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin." Oddly enough this is an identical overture from June 2009: yet very little has happened in terms of actual dollar lock out since then. Note the following story from June 17, 2009: "The leaders of Russia and China
agreed to expand use of the ruble and yuan in bilateral trade to
lessen dependence on the U.S. dollar a day after they took part
in the first summit of the so-called BRIC countries." And judging by the market's reaction, and the dollar resurgence overnight it appears that everyone has read through this as just posturing. Furthermore, keep in mind that Russia was not even a top 10 trading counterparty of China in 2010. If China does the same with any of its top 10 partners then there may be a reason to worry. For now, China is merely testing the waters, and has absolutely no intent on isolating the US, nor making its nearly $3 trillion US FX reserves lose a double digit percentage of their value overnight.

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Thunder Dome's picture

Won't hear this story on the evening news.

FEDbuster's picture

It's just a small crack in the dam, and so it begins.

vegaspilot03's picture

chess is a wonderful game... 'cept it's not much fun to watch.

Horatio Beanblower's picture



Live rioting from London now on Sky News -


Police van being destroyed, etc.

tonyw's picture

So far mostly restrained demonstrating - by students protesting against an increase in fees. Some students have tried to prevent others from damaging it.  The van seems to have been abandoned in the middle of the students who are giving it a good kicking but at the moment has not been set on fire.


Horatio Beanblower's picture

It's kicking off a bit now.  Protesters wanting access to the Foreign Office.  It looks as if the police will be able to handle it.    

Jason T's picture

Money Changers getting thrown from the Temple I see..

eigenvalue's picture

Two pieces of rubbish trading against each other? The dollar will become arsewipe so will the yuan and ruble.

Oh regional Indian's picture

If all they did was to trade arms in barter (both countries are comfortable with barter for major goods, in fact, India traded with Russia for most of our armed forces in exchange for bananas and rubber slippers), that would itself be something.

Incidentally, when the US locked the PRC out of arms supplies, outside of espionage, where do people think China's current armed might came from? Especially Subs?


nonclaim's picture

Somehow I can't see the russians (as persons) taking yuans for dollars...

FatFingered's picture

Sorta like Americans working for Pesos huh?....

Non Passaran's picture

I don't think they can get any.

It appears as if Russian banks get to have RMB accounts at selected Chinese banks and trade transactions are settled using direct conversion (without the intermediate step of conversion to/from USD).

BTW TFA's title is slightly misleading - Russia and China now *also* allow direct trading of the rouble and yuan (in addition to existing mechanisms). The US dollar hasn't been dropped.

bugs_'s picture

Clearly we should drop trade with Russia and China.

Sooner rather than later since it is inevitable anyhow, teach their munchkin mercantilist asses something.

plongka10's picture

This is just the first phase of a bilateral agreement that allows China to settle purchases of Russian oil and gas in yuan.

gwar5's picture

The Yuan can't become internationally convertible overnight. 

But this is another step towards the certain destruction of the dollar.

Brazil and China have the same arrangment. So does Malaysia. It's accelerating.

China pulled their gold from the LBMA and now have their own gold warehouse.

See a pattern?



Chuck Mentzel's picture

I agree. It'll take time but that's the direction. The Chinese set a target for moving away from the dollar, 2018. I think things could move faster, if the global situation worsens.

A source on that China gold LBMA pull-out story?

Tic tock's picture

It's a small but meaningful policy: both countries have populations who will see living standards rise over the long term. In that regard, either's concommitent currency appreciation should be balanced well agtainst the other - which implies a stable price regime between the two countries for the foreseeable future; unlike the euro scenario. 

Oh regional Indian's picture

Excellent point Tick-tock.


Pinky's picture

Double - no triple! - fact check any "news" that comes from a purportedly "foreign" website written in English. China Daily, Russia Today, English AlJazeera. 

Wow, looks like ElKaider even has its own magazine and it's written in - look! English!  All these scaree mooselim terrists from Muslimistan apparently want the editors to translate their articles from their native Muslin before they read it. Because they're just inefficient that way:


(interesting that CNN article no longer shows up in Google news search results. Funny, that, since it was posted Sunday.)

umop episdn's picture

I'm used to triplechecking news reports. I've been dealing with the US Lamestream Media for a very very long time, sadly enough.

hbjork1's picture

Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda:

Young Muslim men with no feeling of self worth. 


1. Eric Hoffer's "True Believer"

Hoffer is a fascinating man and his book is thin but loaded with insights into ordinary human behavior.  The book goes into detail on the formation of true believers and is loaded with other good insights into human behavior.

2.. Maslow's hierarchy of needs

Do you think Al Qaeda gives young Muslim men a route to Self Actualization?


Dollar Bill Hiccup's picture

Gift wrapped? And will that be in Yuan or Ruble sir ?

buzzsaw99's picture

Bernanke must be pleased. He has been trying to turn the usd into the rouble for years.

sly one's picture

There was one cleared trade on 11/23 for $151,000.

MGA_1's picture

No, this could be much bigger news than anybody thinks.  China might finally be setting up for the final detachment from the US.

The Franchise's picture

China does not want their FX reserves to drop double digits overnight... don't worry China, The Ben Bernak will take care of that for you.

themosmitsos's picture

Tyler, I rarely disagree with you, but this is one of those occasions. 2009 Coincides with a dramatic drop in Chinese espionage on Russia, and a dramatic increase of Russian higher end arms exports & production liscencing to China, and a serious, overt & fundamental shift in Chinese foreign policy.

So I don't think it's insignificant. It's a mistake to view this solely through the prism of economics, or through that prism at all in fact, imo. This is a strategic move. Period. It'll be more obvious, once Crude's cruising along ~$350/bbl after Israel listens to Obama on Iran.

bobert's picture

If our annual fiscal deficit continues at 10% of GDP then all we need to do is keep an eye on Portugal who has the same ratio to see into our future.

Ireland was worse at 33%. They are experiencing "austerity" real time.

I believe the market will not tolerate 10% eventually either. (The Chinese and Russian trend will continue.)

As Portugal goes then so do we.

Watch the headlines and plan accordingly.


Anarchist's picture

The Chinese have bilateral financial arrangements with many large countries that negate the need for dollars. This will only increase over time as China moves up the manufacturing food chain.

Bush abrogated the decades long non-agression treaty between China and the US and then intensified the Wests campaign to destabilize, break up Russia and loot it's resources. These acts of agression have forced China and Russia to get along and cut deals. Russia no longer looks to the West as it's main market for it's resources. China, India and the rest of Asia will become the #1 destination for Russian resources. Knowing that the Neocon's plans of destroying Russia will fail, Germany cut it's own side deal with Russia for oil, gas and raw materials. The rest of Europe will be forced to cut their own deals with Russia or become a welfare dependant of the US.

Russian aircraft suppliers are scared $hitless that Russian jet engine suppliers have been allowed to sell engines to China. Soon Russian avionics and aircraft component suppliers will be allowed to sell to China. Russia's last days of supplying finished aircraft are fast approaching. Russia has also lost the ability to supply large surface ships. If Putin does not up funding to all the Russian military subcontractors, many will cease to exist.

Non Passaran's picture

Re aircrafts: there's a similar situation in the United States today (see this article about Boeing.)


hugolp's picture

China has been moving the yuan towards becoming an international currency for years now. If anyone thinks its going to be a big move, he/she is wrong. China is going to go slowly.

The chinese government is worried about loosing control of monetary policy if it opens too quick, so it will keep going step by step. Its going to take time, but its going to happen.

Sespian's picture

"Much Ado About Nothing" ?

Very short term thinking TD.  Didn't expect that from you. VERY short term thinking.  I suggest you read Dying of Money again.

TonyV's picture

I don't get it why this is important. Since China pegs yuan to the dollar, aren't they indirectly using the dollar as intermediary?

Sespian's picture

There is an old English proverb "Don't close a door until you have opened another"  China has opened another.

Paul Bogdanich's picture

It's not a immediately material development as far as total USD trade goes but to toss it off as totally irrelevant is an error.  Need I remind you of the trade treaty signed some 24 months ago between the two parties.  Four things were to happen.  (1) China was to build the infrastructure for the Moscow olympics.  (2) Russia and China were to develop an avation industry with production and development in Russia with capital requirements, distribution, sales & marketing in China.  (3) Oil & gas exports to China were to increase and pipelines for direct delivery constructed.  (4) (and this was the stickler for Russia and why this treaty did not get done a decade earlier) Russia would increase timber and paper product exports to China (Trees grow slowly in Siberia).  So now what I hear is all this trade is going to be denominated in the local currencies as Russia has been urging for the last dozen years.  An immediate threat to the USD?  No.  A movement toward the Russian position of dropping the dollar that they have been urging for over a decade and the Chinese have steadfastly refused for a decade?  Yes.   Immaterial like this commentary suggests?  Absolutely not.  In 5 years it will be very material and further skew our already skewed numbers on Eurasian economic activity which by that time will be larger in aggregate than ours.  If we don't start a World War trying in vein to save our Global Empire in the meantime.

Silversinner's picture

Old news,read Jim Willie(predicted this month's ago)


end of US empire.

Sespian's picture

Go Timmy! Go Timmy!     Go Timmy!  Go Timmy!



Carl LaFong's picture

China is not stupid. This is the classic "frog in the pot of water" move. First, they do it with Russia, then Viet Nam, Malaysia, etc. until one day we wake up and realize they're not taking USD anymore and have cut their USD holdings by 50%. The MOPE is that this is no big deal. The truth is probably just the opposite.

YHC-FTSE's picture

I read this a little differently, not from a platform for posturing, but pragmatism. Sure, Russia is not in the top 10 trading partners with China so this barely makes a scratch, but Russia IS the biggest commodities producer for certain non-oxidising metals (Pt and Pd, for example), natural gas, and R.E's. 


It makes sense for them to trade in each other's currencies especially now, but as usual the yanks always think it's about them and because "They hate our freedoms" and all that usual nonsense about war, hate, and the military. It's a classic case of projection. Just because you hate them, doesn't mean they hate you. 

Venerability's picture

Today, Vladimir Putin is talking up joining the Euro Bloc - and top German bankers - Yes, you read that right - are agreeing with him.


Meanwhile, the anti-Euro commentary, led by the WSJ and the Usual Suspects in the UK, is as Ultrashrill - and more than a little silly - than I've ever observed it. You need to put in earplugs to read one of their articles.


So - "technical analysis of propaganda" - I would think a whole lot of opportunistic Euro Shorts are already furiously covering.


And how much do you wish to bet that both Russia and China are going super-Long the Euro right this minute?