Redback Rising China`s Bilateral Swap Agreements And Renminbi Internationalization

In another case of use of the BSA, Russia put its swap agreement online between October 2015 and March 2016. In a press release from the Central Bank of Russia, it was not said that the funds had been allocated to a limited number of Russian and Chinese partners with the aim of « supporting bilateral trade and direct investment between the two countries ». As such, trade experts have suggested that the RMB has finally made its way to Russian companies and that the funds have been used in trade with China, leading to tighter regulation between the two countries. In mid-June 2020, Turkey conducted an exchange with China. The BSA$1.7 billion between the two countries represented about 8% of the total trade value of $21.08 billion between the two countries in 2019. Following the government`s attempt to support the Turkish lira, Turkey had desperately exhausted its foreign exchange reserves and sought assistance from financiers such as the IMF and the United States. Turkey, unable to secure critical financing, turned to China through its swap agreement for aid. An important – and often overlooked – means by which Beijing has encouraged the internationalization of the RMB is the signing of bilateral swap agreements with foreign central banks. In 2015, the People`s Bank of China signed more than 30 such agreements worth a total of $468 billion. These swaps allow the People`s Bank of China to make redback available to other countries while strictly controlling their use abroad. It turned out that greater economic interdependence with China – which the Belt and Road initiative wants to create – increases the likelihood that such agreements will be signed with Beijing. In reality, these are only a few isolated cases in which swap agreements have actually been used. Of China`s 35 BSAs, very few have actually facilitated trade between China and its trading partners.

The agreements certainly strengthen China`s diplomatic influence as a short-term bank with intermediate liquidity when Western institutions are not available; but the impact on trade has been very limited. Over the past 10 years, China has introduced incredible BSAs with 35 countries – 21 more than the United States, with the second largest number of sweatshirt-change partners with 14.