TOKYO — Two years ago this month, China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin agreed to a “financial alliance.”

It won little attention at the time. The pact to reduce their economies’ dependence on the dollar seemed more aspirational, more rhetorical, than tangible. Until now.

As economist Ivan Tchakarov at Citigroup reports, yuan trading at the Moscow Exchange, Russia’s largest, has surged more than 40-fold this year. What’s more, Tchakarov notes, yuan dealing “has now started to dominate trading in more traditional currencies. This is happening against the backdrop of fast-declining trading in the US dollar.”

It would be intellectually dishonest to argue things unfolded exactly as Xi and Putin expected in August 2020.

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