Europe is Fuelling Offshore RMB

Europe has become the next biggest contributor to global renminbi (RMB) transactions after Hong Kong, according to SWIFT’s RMB Tracker. Europe has quickly adopted the RMB over the past year and, excluding China and Hong Kong, now represents 47% in RMB payments value, overtaking Asia-Pacific.

The RMB Trackers looks at the value of payments in RMB versus total value of payments across currencies between that region and China/Hong Kong. Asia-Pacific was quick to adopt the RMB, and did 7.2% of all payments with China/Hong Kong in RMB in Q112. Europe had a slower start but is catching up quickly with 6.7%. Africa and the Middle East show strong adoption, mainly driven by Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and some extent South Africa, but the overall value is pretty small. In the Americas, the RMB needle did not move much: there are some RMB flows with the US and relatively good adoption by Canada, but almost no RMB activity with Latin America so far.

While Europe’s adoption rate is slightly below Asia’s, the region is actually contributing more to RMB payments than Asia-Pacific thanks to its bigger absolute payments value. Excluding China and Hong Kong, Europe’s share in RMB payments increased from 36% in Q111 to 47% in Q112, whereas Asia-Pacific’s share declined from 59% to 41%. Looking closer at a country level, despite often lower adoption rates, the contribution in absolute value to RMB payments from several European countries is bigger than that of many Asia-Pacific countries.


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