Russian Bank Begins To Offer Chinese RMB Deposit Accounts With 8% Interest

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Russia’s state-run VTB Bank, which is now under US sanctions, has offered its clients the opportunity to open Chinese yuan savings accounts that stipulate a maximum interest rate of 8%.

VTB said in a statement that “in light of the rising dollar and euro exchange rates, many clients are showing interest in investing in other currencies, and the yuan is one of the most affordable and promising options for investing funds”.

Customers are welcome to open deposits remotely through VTB Online with a minimum amount of 100 yuan ($16). At VTB branches, clients can deposit a minimum of 500 yuan ($78), according to the bank’s press release.

VTB claimed that the new offer would be the most profitable alternative to deposits in other foreign currencies. As far as the Russian national currency is concerned, a six-month ruble deposit currently offers an annual percentage yield of 21%, the bank said, adding that over the past week, customers had invested over a trillion rubles (US$15 billion) in traditional savings products.

The new offer comes as US President Joe Biden signed an executive order earlier this week to ban the dollar supply to Russia, as part of the White House’s sanctions against Moscow over its ongoing special military operation in Ukraine.

The development was preceded by the EU earlier this month banning the export and import of euro banknotes to Russia, with an exception only made for individuals arriving in Russia, diplomatic missions, and international organisations with legal immunity.

In late February, the US imposed sanctions on VTB and another state-controlled Russian financial institution, Sberbank, by cutting them off from direct access to the US dollar. VTB responded by stressing that they “have worked through several plans to counter the sanctions in ways which minimizse the negative consequences” for their clients.

VTB and Sberbank hold approximately half of all the Russian banking system’s assets, remaining major lenders and service providers to companies in the country.

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