Rouble’s falling value impacts trade in China-Russia border city

Global Business

With the Russian rouble suffering its worst fall since the 1998 financial crisis in Russia, local business in the Chinese border town of Suifenhe has been adversely affected. CCTV America’s Guan Yang reported this story from Suifenhe, China.

Rouble’s falling value impacts trade in China-Russia border city

With the Russian rouble suffering its worst fall since the 1998 financial crisis in Russia, local business in the Chinese border town of Suifenhe has been adversely affected. CCTV America’s Guan Yang reported this story from Suifenhe, China.

The city sits on the Russian border and is the only place in China where the free flow of the rouble and Chinese RMB is allowed. But with the rouble losing more than half its value against the U.S. dollar over the past year, and the RMB backed by the Chinese economy, residents and travelers are preferring to use the RMB.

“We still take and trade rouble, but won’t keep them in the pocket, it’s too risky to hold them,” forex dealer Bing Shoulan said.

For Russian tourists, the season for cheer is anything but.

“My new year shopping is going down the drain and I’m very worried if the rouble will go down any further,” Russian tourist Luba, who did not give her last name, said.

For decades, Suifenhe has been dubbed the capital of Sino-Russian trade. With the new year approaching, the city should be packed with Russian buyers using roubles for furs, plasma TVs, and chocolates. But the latest economic fluctuations have hit people hard.

“We’ve been offering tons of discounts and promotional giveaways as a strategy to attract more Russian visitors. But, as you can see, hardly anyone has walked into the store. With the rouble weakening, people’s spending power [have] been hit,” shopping assistant Zheng Yanghe said.

Despite this, not everyone is losing money. Many Chinese business owners have seized the opportunity to shore up their stocks. The more they import raw materials in roubles from Russia, the less the cost of their products.

“Like this piece of amber, I paid only half of what it used to cost before the rouble fell. A lot of my business associates are taking full advantage of the cheap rouble by importing as many goods as possible from Russia. I personally think the rouble will slowly pick up in a few months,” business owner Wang Xuedong said.