According to the Epoch Times, the first shipments of coal and oil from Russia paid in Chinese currency, the yuan, will make it to China in April and May.

The paper cited Fenwei Energy Information Service Co., a China’s leading coal services information provider, revealed that several Chinese firms paid by yuan for Russian coal in March.

In March, Reuters reported at the time that China traders had difficulty importing Russian coal as they struggled to secure finance from Chinese state banks after the SWIFT sanctions. As a result, some Chinese traders discussed with Russian energy exporters about paying in yuan.

China is Russia’s largest coal buyer. Last year it bought over 50 million tonnes of coal worth 7.4 billion dollars.

Russia accounted for about 15% of China’s total imports and was second only to Indonesia.

Australia used to be China’s largest coal exporter. But after Australia called for an investigation into coronavirus origin, the relationship between the two countries deteriorated, affecting trade on both sides. In 2021 coal export from Australia to China decreased by more than 98%.

The New York Times reported that China would suspend tariffs on imported coal effective from Sunday. The move will help Russia since European countries have imposed sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

Earlier this month, the EU approved another round of sanctions on Russia, including a ban on its coal.

Since many Russian banks were cut off from SWIFT, they switched to China’s UnionPay for international transactions. But the Chinese card system refused to work with those banks, fearing possible penalties from the West.

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