According to Swift’s
latest RMB tracker, the UK’s RMB payments value increased by 21% between March
2014 and March 2016, it as the first offshore RMB clearing centre after Hong
Being the second
biggest is not as important as it sounds, however, for the UK is the small
matter of 66% behind Hong Kong.
Singapore overtook the
UK in February 2014, but the trend started to reverse as of January 2016, Swift
says. Hong Kong still remains the world’s largest offshore RMB centre,
processing 72.5% of all RMB payments, followed by UK with a share of 6.3% and
Singapore with 4.6%.
Swift data also shows
that 40% of all payments made between UK and China/Hong Kong are exchanged in
RMB. The Chinese currency is by far the most used in this corridor, followed by
the Hong Kong dollar (24%) and the Sterling (12%).
“Since the China
Construction Bank (London branch) became a clearing bank in the United Kingdom
in June 2014, there has been a steady growth of RMB payments between the United
Kingdom and China/Hong Kong,” says Stephen Gilderdale, managing director, UK,
Ireland and Nordics at Swift. “Offshore RMB clearing centres are driving
greater use of the currency in global trade, and countries such as the United
Kingdom, are reaping the benefits.”
In March 2016, the RMB
remained stable in its position as the fifth most active currency for global
payments by value with a share of 1.88%, a slight increase from 1.74% in
February 2016. Overall, RMB payments value increased by 18.46% compared to
February 2016, whilst in general all payments currencies increased by 10.67%.