Renminbi edges higher as top five currency


Less than a year after moving into the ‘top five’ of global payment currencies, the renminbi (RMB) edged up further to gain fourth position last month.

The RMB spent much of 2014 in seventh position, but in November 2014 overtook the Canadian (CND) and Australian dollar (AUD), to become fifth most traded global payments currency after the US dollar (USD), euro (EUR), British pound (GBP) and Japanese yen (JPY).

The latest monthly RMB Tracker, produced by financial messaging services provider SWIFT reports that for the first time the Chinese currency entered the top four of world payment currencies by value in August 2015, overtaking the JPY and reaching a record high share of 2.79% in global payments.

In the past three years, the RMB has overtaken seven currencies rising from position number 12 with a share of 0.84% in August 2012. The currency has also further established itself as the dominant currency for trade finance behind the USD.

To mark Sibos 2015 taking place next week in Singapore, the top RMB clearing centre after Hong Kong, SWIFT has produced a special edition of the RMB Tracker which provides an updated and consolidated overview of the currency’s rise as an international currency.

Michael Moon, head of payments, Asia Pacific, SWIFT, commented: “The special edition RMB Tracker report confirms that 2015 has seen a big shift in the RMB becoming a “business as usual” payment currency. The use of additional offshore clearing centres outside of Hong Kong has played a key role in driving RMB adoption, with most showing impressive growth in volume.”

Responding to the latest RMB Tracker, Diane S Reyes, global head of payments and cash management, HSBC, said: “In overtaking the Yen to break into the world’s top four payment
currencies, the RMB has passed another milestone in its rapid evolution and now looks set to become the leading global currency from Asia.

“Growing use of the RMB for cross-border trade and investment shows that demand isn’t simply driven by China’s domestic markets but that the currency’s becoming deeply embedded into the international economy.”


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