We have a continual dialogue about Renminbi (RMB), or Chinese Yuan (CNY) if you prefer.
What’s the difference?
Well, Remnimbi is the proper term for the Chinese currency, as is referring to UK currency as the Pound Sterling and the American currency as the Dollar; whilst Yuan is the more colloquial term for Remnimbi, and is more like referring to pounds and dollars as quids or bucks,
FSClub friend Wim Raymaekers, Head of Banking Market at SWIFT, talks about this all the time, probably because so much currency movement is now moving through the SWIFT network.
He’s so wrapped up in this space, he sent me a guest blog post about it so, as it’s a worthwhile space to note, here’s what Wim has to say:
At the end of 2011, the RMB’s share of the global payments market was just 0.29% – dwarfed by that of the €/$ which combine to represent 90% of global volumes, at 43% and 47% of payments respectively – but the RMB did weigh in at #17 in the world’s payments currency league table, and its growth certainly outpaced that of other major currencies including the beleaguered euro.
The battle for supremacy among RMB offshore trading centres is also hotting up.
UK Chancellor George Osborne’s recent deal with Hong Kong, to position London alongside Hong Kong as such a centre, lays bare London’s ambitions in this regard – and the City could be starting from a stronger position than even Mr Osborne realises.
Hong Kong remains the world’s biggest RMB offshore centre, handling 78% of all RMB payments sent and received in December 2011, but the UK is well on its way to becoming the next big RMB offshore trading centre.
In Q4 2011, it already handled 30% of RMB payments (levelling with Singapore) and 46% of RMB FX transactions – not considering China and Hong Kong volumes in both cases.
This business intelligence is being generated by SWIFT to see which financial institutions have growing RMB volumes, where the corridors of activity are, which countries’ RMB businesses are growing, which are diminishing.
Taken as a whole, this data also demonstrates how rapidly the international RMB payments business is growing, and how actively many financial institutions are already participating in it.
Keep track of such information with the SWIFT RMB Tracker, published monthly.