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Asian Clearing Union (ACU) is a form of payment arrangements whereby the participants settle payments for the transactions among the participating central banks on a multilateral basis.
The main objectives of a clearing union are: to facilitate payments among member countries for eligible transactions, to economize on the use of foreign exchange reserves and transfer costs, to promote trade among the participating countries.
The ACU is a clearing union among other clearing houses/payments arrangements operating in various regions of the world.
The ACU was established as an initiative of the United Nation Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). The decision to establish the ACU was taken at the Fourth Ministerial Conference on Asian Economic Cooperation held in December 1970 in Kabul. The Draft Agreement Establishing the ACU was finalized at a meeting of the senior officials of the governments and central banks held at ESCAP Meeting, Bangkok, in December 1974 after five central banks (India, Iran, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) signed the Agreement. Bangladesh and Myanmar were the sixth and seventh signatories to this Agreement.Bhutan signed the Agreement in 1999. As the ninth member, the Maldives joined the ACU in 2009.
To provide a facility to settle on a multilateral basis, payments for current international transactions among the territories of participants;
To promote the use of participants’ currencies in current transactions between their respective territories and thereby effect economies in the use of the participant's exchange reserves;
To promote monetary co-operation among the participants and closer relations among the banking systems in their territories and thereby contribute to the expansion of trade and economic activity among the countries of the ESCAP region; and
To provide for currency SWAP arrangement among the participants so as to make Asian Monetary Unit available to them temporarily.
Board of Directors
Each participant appoints one Director and one Alternate Director. The Board
elects a chairman and a vice-chairman from among its members. The Board meets
at least once a year. All decisions of the Board of Directors are taken by a
majority of the votes of all Directors unless a special majority is required by
The Board is authorized to appoint a Secretary General for a term of three years. The Secretary General may be reappointed and shall cease to hold office when the Board so decides.
The Board of Directors may make arrangements with a central bank or
monetary authority of a participant to provide the necessaryservices and
facilities for the operation of the clearing facility. The Board has accepted
the offer of the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran (CBI) to act as
the agent for the ACU.
The official language of the ACU is English.
Unit of Accounts
accounts of the ACU shall be kept in the AMUs (viz. ACU dollar, ACU euro and
ACY yen). They are in fact unit of account.The AMUs with effect from 1st
January 2020 are denominated as ACU dollar, ACU euro, and ACU yen, which are
pegged to USD,euro, and yen.
The amount which has not been cleared at the end of each twomonthly period needs to settled in a T+4 manner. The settlement of net positions and accrued interests takes place at the end of a two-monthly settlement period. The Board of Directors may change the length of the settlement periods by a decision taken by the unanimous votes of the entire Directors.
Interest shall be paid by net debtors and transferred to net creditors on daily outstanding between settlement dates. The rate of interest applicable for a settlement period will be the closing rate on the first working day of the last week of the previous calendar month offered by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Secured Overnight Financing Rate (CMESOFR) term one month for US Dollar, the Euro Interbank Offered Rate (EURIBOR) one month for Euro and the Inter-Continental Exchange (ICE) for one month Japanese Yen deposits.
· Central bank or monetary
authority of each regional member or associate member of UNESCAP is eligible to
apply to the Board of Directors to become a participant and be admitted as a
participant if the Board so decides by a two-third vote of all the Directors.
A central bank or monetary
authority that is not an UNESCAP member may apply to become a participant and
be admitted as a participant if the Board so decides by the unanimous vote of
all the Directors.
such central bank or monetary authority signing the Agreement and accepting the
rules, regulations and decisions of the Board of Directors, the Chairman of the
Board shall determine the date on which the payments and transfers with respect
to such a participant shall be included in the clearing facility.
At present, the ACU enjoys the membership of the following participants:
Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan
Reserve Bank of India
Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Maldives Monetary Authority
Central Bank of Myanmar
Nepal Rastra Bank
State Bank of Pakistan
Central Bank of Sri Lanka
Relations with Other Organizations and Clearing Arrangements
There is no prohibition for the participants to cooperate with other general, regional or sub-regional international organizations or other payment arrangements among countries within or outside the ESCAP region.
Currency Swap Arrangement
The main objective of the SWAP arrangement is to extend short-term foreign exchange support by providing participants access to the international reserves of other participants in times of temporary liquidity problems. The potential benefits of the SWAP facility are:
Easy access by participants
to international reserves of other participants at a time when foreign exchange
support is needed;
Availability of the
facility on a multilateral basis rather than on a bilateral basis; and
The opportunity for further
monetary cooperation among the participants.