Small Indian lenders in talks with Russia to finalise trade mechanism - official

Leaflets advertising loans are pictured inside a commercial branch of the UCO Bank in Mumbai June 1, 2013. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash

NEW DELHI, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Indian lenders UCO Bank (UCBK.NS) and Yes Bank (YESB.NS) are in talks with their Russian counterparts over a payment mechanism for trade between the two countries, a senior government official said on Thursday.

Reuters had reported large lenders are reluctant to process direct rupee trade transactions with Russia for fear of becoming the target of sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine, and New Delhi is counting on smaller banks like UCO and Yes.

Banks are discussing the currency pair for the payment mechanism and the options include the Indian rupee paired with the Russian rouble or Saudi Arabia's riyal, the official said.

"Few of the Russian banks are joining hands with UCO Bank and Yes Bank. It will be primarily rupee-basis trade, could be rupee-rouble or could be rupee-riyal," the official, who did not want to be named, told reporters in New Delhi.

The official did not explain how the rupee-riyal mechanism will be designed to settle trade between New Delhi and Moscow.

Reporting by Shivangi Acharya; Editing by Stephen Coates

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