Banks mull starting rupee trade with Bangladesh and African countries

Banks are looking at the possibility of initiating rupee trade with Bangladesh and African countries, like Egypt, as a part of the exercise to make rupee an international currency. The overseas trade in rupee will safeguard the external sector from fluctuation in the forex market.

India had imported goods worth $3,520.83 million from Egypt, of $1,004.24 million from Algeria and $2,725.08 million from Angola in the last financial year. 

As far as Bangladesh is concerned, the import in the last year from the neighbouring country had stood at $1,977.93 million, according to data provided by the Commerce Ministry.

Currently, rupee trade arrangements are with Russia, Mauritius and Sri Lanka through Special Rupee Vostro Account (SRVA). 

Indian banks have already opened SRVA with banks of these three nations, operationalising the rupee trade arrangement. 

Recently, SBI Mauritius and People’s Bank of Sri Lanka opened an SRVA with State Bank of India (SBI). In addition, Bank of Ceylon opened an account in its Indian subsidiary in Chennai. 

Union Bank of India has opened a special rupee account of Ros Bank Russia, while Chennai-based Indian Bank has opened such accounts of three Sri Lankan banks, including Colombo-based NDB Bank and Seylan Bank. 

In all, 18 such special rupee accounts have been opened by 11 banks, including two of Russia and one of Sri Lanka, following approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The RBI had issued detailed guidelines on cross-border trade transactions in the domestic currency in July.

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