SWIFT RMB Tracker: RMB #1 currency used in Asia Pacific with Greater China

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  • SWIFT’s RMB Tracker shows that the RMB is now the most active currency used by Asia for payments with China and Hong Kong

Brussels – SWIFT’s RMB Tracker shows that RMB value weight as currency used for payments exchanged with China and Hong Kong within Asia increased by 327% between April 2012 and April 2015. This impressive increase over the past three year propelled the Chinese currency from number 5 to number 1 currency used in Asia to deal with Greater China. On average, 31% of payments in Asia with China and Hong 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 using RMB for direct payments with China and Hong Kong, only 9 are considered as low users in 2015 compared to 19 in 2012 and 6 have now a high use of the currency.

“Asian RMB adoption is clear 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; Japan is now the only main partner which has not reached 10% of RMB usage. In addition, it is encouraging to notice smaller partners following the same path. Moreover, with the new appointment of three clearing centres (Malaysia, Thailand and Australia) within the region the global adoption is expected to increase even more and potentially settle for good the debate on the important role of the RMB currency within Asia Pacific as first currency to be used for payments with China and Hong Kong.

Overall, the RMB remains to its position as the fifth most active currency for global payments and accounted for 2.07% of payments worldwide. It 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.