The largest bank in the world by assets is to open a trade settlement office in Moscow.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), which holds assets worth some US$3.062tn, confirmed this week that the office will allow for trade settlements in both renminbi and rouble.

The bank will also assist Russian companies to connect with Chinese investors and will work with Russia to ensure its involvement in One Belt One Road (OBOR) projects.

“ICBC, as the biggest bank dealing with renminbi (Rmb) business in the world, is willing to take the responsibility of being the CNY clearing bank in Russia,” ICBC’s Moscow president, Song Yang, told local media.

“In terms of corporate finance, ICBC has maintained business contacts with Russian customers in many industries: in addition to energy and aviation, they also include the electricity, mining, chemical, oil and gas, telecommunication, retail, machinery, metallurgy and other industries,” he added.

It further enhances the presence of the Rmb on the international trade finance stage. The currency became the second most used in trade settlements globally in 2014, according to data from Swift.

More recently, the IMF announced that it would be included in its basket of reserve currencies, otherwise known as the special drawing rights (SDR) group of currencies.

It also elevates Russia’s relationship with China, which has been steadily strengthening since the Russian invasion of Crimea left it cut off from many markets in the west. The pair have already signed an agreement that will see them collaborate on OBOR projects as well as projects pertaining to the fledgling Eurasian Economic Union, which is led by Russia.

“ICBC will co-operate closely with Russian corporations and participate together on the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt,” Song said.