Chinese consultancy Fenwei Energy Information Service Co. said that Russia accepted yuan in coal trading in March, and the first shipments will arrive in China this month.

Russian crude oil sellers have also offered Chinese refiners the option of paying in yuan.

Bloomberg reported that such transactions were conducted in dollars before Russia invaded Ukraine in late February. In addition, several Chinese purchasers had suspended imports when Russian banks were cut from the SWIFT interbank messaging system.

However, Chinese oil importers have also faced payment problems using the yuan.

Reuters reported that some of China’s state banks are reducing funding for Russian oil-related deals, even for transactions signed before international sanctions were imposed on Moscow.

In recent weeks, Unipec, a trading branch of Chinese energy giant Sinopec, has cautioned its global teams about the risks of trading Russian oil.

One source disclosed messages to Reuters about its regular internal meetings, saying, “Although Russian oil is hugely discounted, there are many issues like securing shipping insurance and payment snags.”

The source added, “The message and tone are clear—risk control and compliance comes before profits.”

On Thursday, several sources told Reuters that China’s state refiners will continue complying with existing Russian oil contracts but won’t buy more despite steep discounts.

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