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SWIFT says international RMB usage on the rise

According to SWIFT out of the 160 countries that exchanged payments with China and Hong Kong in April this year over its systems, 47 of them had at least 10% of their payments value denominated in renminbi (RMB).

The messaging services provider reports that there has been a 9% increase in the number of countries “crossing the RMB river” for their payments with China and Hong Kong since July 2012 as the Chinese currency continues to spread throughout the world’s financial system.

According to SWIFT’s latest April RMB Tracker report, over the nine month period from July 2012 through to April 2013, 16 more countries were using the RMB for more than 10% of their payments with China and Hong Kong. The growth has brought the total to 47 countries worldwide.

The average Chinese yuan (CNY) payment weight in all of the 160 countries jumped to 6%, giving the currency a 2% increase since July 2012. SWIFT’s RMB Tracker also shows that Italy and Russia are now among some of the strongest adopters of the RMB, much like the UK, Singapore and Taiwan – all of whom are competing to establish international RMB trading centres.

“The big increase in countries with substantial RMB volumes is a good indicator that the currency has become more internationalised,” said Lisa O’Connor, RMB director at SWIFT. “This also presents business opportunities for those banks with RMB business intelligence and product capabilities in those countries.”