RMB Now the Top Currency in APAC for Payments with China

SWIFT data shows that the value in weight of the renminbi (RMB) used for payments exchanged with China and Hong Kong within Asia-Pacific increased by 327% between April 2012 and April 2015. During this three-year period, the Chinese currency moved from position number five to the top currency used in Asia-Pacific to do business with Greater China.

On average, 31% of payments in Asia-Pacific with China and Hong Kong are now made in RMB, up from 7% in April 2012. This growth is driven by the increase of RMB usage in most Asian countries to trade directly with China and Hong Kong. Over three years, most Asian countries moved from being low users (under 10% RMB) to medium users (between 10% and 50%). Out of 26 countries, within the region and using the RMB for direct payments with China and Hong Kong, only nine are considered low users compared to 19 in 2012. Six countries are now considered high users of the currency.

“Asia Pacific is clearly paving the way forward when it comes to RMB adoption,” says Michael Moon, head of payments Asia-Pacific at SWIFT. “Big trading partners like Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea have adopted the RMB for the majority of their payments with Greater China. The new appointments of four clearing centres (South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and Australia) within the region should also have a positive impact on RMB adoption, solidifying the important role of the currency within Asia Pacific and abroad.”

Overall, the RMB remains in its position as the fifth most active currency for global payments and accounted for 2.07% of payments worldwide. Its activity share is higher than last month even though RMB payments decreased in value by -6.7% compared to April 2015, while at a global level, all currencies decreased in value by -8.2% over the same period.

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