Hong Kong’s grip on offshore renminbi weakens

After Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK are the largest centres for offshore payments in the Chinese currency. Together with a number of new renminbi centres, such as Bangkok, Doha, Frankfurt, Kuala Lumpur and others, these countries now account for a quarter of offshore payments, compared to 17% two years ago, according to data from financial messaging service Swift.

“The use of renminbi by more countries, beyond Hong Kong, is a good testimony of the internationalisation of the Chinese currency,” says Michael Moon, head of payments Asia-Pacific at Swift.

“The global volume of payments in renminbi will fluctuate, and is actually down by value compared to last month, but the broader support by more countries beyond Hong Kong, underlining its international use, suggests the potential for future clearing centres and further development of the currency.”

The decline in value of global renminbi payments – a fall of roughly a fifth in February, compared to the previous month – pushed the renminbi from fifth to seventh in the list of global payment currencies. Swift says the decline was probably due to the seasonal effect of the Chinese New Year.