How the transition to settlements in rubles will help exporters of agricultural products




How the transition to settlements in rubles will help exporters of agricultural products

The Russian government is discussing the transition to payments in rubles when exporting agricultural products. The proposed presidential decree "On a special procedure for opening settlement accounts in authorized banks by foreign buyers of Russian agricultural products" is designed to simplify the access of friendly countries to our food market. Experts believe that the ruble settlement mechanism reduces the risks associated with fluctuations in foreign exchange rates.

How the transition to settlements in rubles will help exporters of agricultural products

The government is discussing a draft presidential decree on the transition to payments in rubles when exporting agricultural products. In the near future, it will be sent for consideration by the head of state, said the office of Deputy Prime Minister Victoria Abramchenko. At the moment, the document has already been reviewed and supported by the State Legal Department. The decree will provide an opportunity, on the basis of applications from foreign buyers, to open special ruble accounts and special currency accounts for the purchase of Russian agricultural products. The list of these products will be determined by the government of the Russian Federation.

“The national currency is, of course, more comfortable conditions for protecting our farmers,” said Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Agriculture of Chuvashia Sergei Artamonov. — Regulatory changes initiated by the Russian government will strengthen our position in the export market, expand opportunities and simplify payments. In particular, Chuvashia is also represented on the export line of agricultural products. For example, just recently, fresh flowers and bran were sent abroad from us for the first time, flour supplies to friendly countries were arranged.

- The mechanism of the ruble settlement for food will protect against non-receipt of the currency of unfriendly countries, will provide an opportunity to increase the settlements in rubles and the turnover of the Moscow Currency Exchange, - says Petr Korotchenko, member of the Duma Committee of the Stavropol Territory on agrarian and land issues, environmental management and ecology, head of Dobrovolnoye SHP LLC . — Especially in trade in those positions in which we are major players in the world market (for example, grain, oil and fat products).

Meanwhile, there are several problems, without solving which, a positive result can be reduced, notes Vadim Klementyev, director of the Food and Agroindustry direction of the ETP of the Gazprombank group.

- Firstly, in the Russian Federation there is a limited number of backbone banks connected to the SWIFT interbank payment system. It is necessary to develop alternative systems of interbank payments, primarily the Russian Financial Message Transfer System (SPFS) of the Bank of Russia, he believes. - The second point is that the Russian government has now imposed export duties on a number of agricultural products, which leads to export restrictions or a complete ban on goods subject to duties. The impact of duties may lead to negative profitability of agricultural producers, which will lead to a decrease in the supply of agricultural products.

Transferring payments into rubles or the currencies of friendly countries reduces the risk of blocking the funds of Russian companies due to sanctions, removes the risks arising from the trade in agricultural products in a currency other than the ruble, increases the demand for the Russian currency, and therefore leads to an increase in the share of the ruble in the international trade, Vadim Klementyev believes. Finally, the conversion of payments into rubles enhances the confidence in the ruble as a currency of payment on the part of countries that buy Russian goods (Russian companies will be able to use the ruble for settlements with companies from friendly countries in the future).

The ruble settlement mechanism reduces currency risks associated with fluctuations in foreign exchange rates, points out Yulia Zubareva, head of the department of economics, organization and management of the agro-industrial complex of the Northern Trans-Urals. For farmers, this means that they can easily make payments in rubles without worrying about exchange rate fluctuations, and be less dependent on financial institutions, which reduces their costs and risks.

— The use of settlements in rubles in agricultural exports should be considered for the entire range of agricultural products. But it may be especially appropriate for commodity items, where the share of imported components is small and the prices for Russian agricultural products are competitive on the world market,” the economist says. — However, for commodity items where the price is highly dependent on fluctuations in foreign exchange rates or there are significant imported components, it may still be more profitable to use other calculations, such as calculations in US dollars or euros.

Petr Korotchenko is sure that the document under discussion should be adopted together with a list of Russian agricultural products, the trade of which it will regulate, and also taking into account the specifics of the countries to which this decree will concern. For example, the Egyptian state-owned food purchasing company GASC last year increased the import of our wheat by two-thirds, to 8.1 million tons, the expert reminds. At the same time, Egypt is the second buyer of Russian wheat after Turkey, and the world's leading grain exporters are fighting for the right to sell at its auctions. Korotchenko notes that the Egyptian currency is not traded on our exchange, and the requirements for auctions created by Egypt allow our exporters to export to Egypt most of the wheat they buy. Therefore, a number of experts naturally have a question: will the proposed settlement procedure affect Egypt and will it suit it?

- I would like to hope that trade with friendly countries that buy 86% of our food exports from us will not become more difficult. Otherwise, a decrease in sales and prices for our products with the departure of buyers to the markets of competitors is not ruled out,” the agrarian notes.

Over the past year, he recalls, the profitability of crop production has decreased by a third, despite the fact that the sale of crop products is the basis of Russian food exports.

Yulia Zubareva agrees that one of the dangerous risks when making payments in rubles may be a decrease in the competitiveness of Russian agricultural products on the international market due to a rise in price due to fluctuations in the ruble exchange rate. Therefore, she concludes, to mitigate this risk, the use of hedging or other financial instruments should be considered to protect farmers from losses associated with exchange rate fluctuations.


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