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Press Release
Published September 27, 2016
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United Arab Emirates shows stellar growth in RMB adoption

Date: September 27, 2016
Categories: Data & Analytics, Markets Exchanges, Transaction Banking
Keywords: SWIFT, RMB, UAE, Payments


Hong Kong -- Data from SWIFT's latest RMB Tracker shows exceptional growth in RMB adoption in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) witnessing a 210.8% growth in payments value of the currency since August 2014, albeit from a low base. More than 80% of the direct payments made between the UAE and mainland China/Hong Kong in August 2016 were in CNY, representing one of the highest increases worldwide.

With Sibos taking place in Geneva this year, the special edition of the RMB Tracker takes the opportunity to look beyond long-established markets such as London to offer a snapshot of four other markets in EMEA, France, Germany, Switzerland and the UAE

Data within the report shows that the EMEA region is ranked as number two in RMB adoption after Asia-Pacific. Other key RMB highlights include:

  • The RMB has retained its position as the number five world payments currency, representing 1.86% of global payments by value.
  • France leads Eurozone countries in RMB payments by value, despite flat growth over the past three years. Close to 50% of France's direct payments with mainland China/Hong Kong were denominated in CNY in August 2016.
  • The RMB is ranked number three in Switzerland for direct payments with mainland China/Hong Kong after HKD and CHF. There has been 43.5% growth in RMB payments by value compared to November 2015, when the clearing centre was established.
  • The euro continues to dominate the corridor for payments between Germany and mainland China/Hong Kong with a share of 80.1%.

Alain Raes, Chief Executive, Asia Pacific & EMEA at SWIFT says: "RMB adoption in France, Switzerland and Germany is progressing slowly, while the UAE continues to show significant growth -- we have seen impressive 44.6% increase in payments value since August 2015."

"We expect this growth to continue in the UAE following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in December 2015 for the set-up of an additional clearing centre in the Middle East. This will enable even more corporates operating in the region to access RMB products, open RMB accounts and use the currency to make payments to both onshore and offshore counterparts," he added.

The UK remains the dominant offshore RMB clearing centre after Hong Kong, totalling 67.3% of all RMB direct payments made between Europe and mainland China/Hong Kong in August 2016.

On 21 September 2016, the People's Bank of China appointed Bank of China as the first yuan clearing bank in the United States. SWIFT's August 2016 data shows that only 2.8% of all payments by value between US and mainland China/Hong Kong are done in RMB while Europe, for example, reached 30.6%. The appointment of this new clearing centre will most probably strengthen its position on the RMB.

Re-disseminated by The Asian Banker