RMB trading surge benefits London

The growth in Chinese currency payments last year grew exponentially, leaving all other global currencies well behind.

Statistics from Swift, the payments and messaging platform, show that the RMB grew at a compound monthly rate of 14.8%, compared to an average 0.7% for other currencies.

The Swift RMB Tracker shows that in the payments currency league table this growth has “propelled the RMB from position #30 in January 2011 to #17 in December”. The RMB payments growth also overshadows that of the other BRIC countries, underlining the strength of trading in the RMB: the Russian Rouble (13th) grew by 7.4%, the Indian Rupee (51th) by 4.1% and the Brazilian Real (60th) by 2.3%.

The RMB’s share of in global payments (0.29%) remains small compared to the euro (43%) and the US dollar (47%). But the surge in RMB trading finds the City of London well positioned to benefit as the RMB takes a growing share of global trading.

London is set to become the next RMB offshore trading centre, says Swift, after Hong Kong. Aside from China and Hong Kong (the world’s biggest RMB offshore centre, with 78% of all RMB payments sent and received in December 2011), London did 30% of RMB payments and 46% of RMB FX in Q4 2011, placing it on par with Singapore in RMB payments and first in RMB FX.

In RMB payments, Swift says, “Singapore started off strong early 2011 but lost ground and its share declined from 52.9% in Q1 to 30.6% in Q4. The United Kingdom on the other hand had the strongest growth in RMB payments and saw its share increase from 22.1% in Q1 to 30.0% in Q4.”

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