The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) continues to focus on expanding use of the renminbi around the world, and the bank’s efforts are paying off. SWIFT announced this morning that the Chinese currency has overtaken the Canadian and Australian dollars to become the fifth-most-used currency for global payments, as measured by transaction value.
It’s been a meteoric rise. Two years ago, 0.63 percent of global payments were denominated in renminbi (RMB), putting the currency in 13th position. By December 2014, the RMB accounted for 2.17 percent of all global payments by value. Only the U.S. dollar (44.64 percent of global payments), euro (28.3 percent), British pound (7.92 percent), and Japanese yen (2.69 percent) account for more.
“The RMB breaking into the top five world payments currencies is an important milestone,” says Wim Raymaekers, head of banking markets for SWIFT. “It is a great testimony to the internationalization of the RMB.”
In 2014, the value of RMB payments globally grew 102 percent, compared with a year-over-year growth rate of 4.4 percent for payments in all currencies.
“The RMB is increasingly becoming the currency of choice for international payments,” says Vina Cheung, HSBC’s global head of RMB internationalization, payments, and cash management. “We expect the rapid uptake of the RMB to continue in 2015 and beyond. Following 102 percent growth in 2014, we anticipate the RMB will overtake the JPY as Asia’s top global currency in Q2/2015.”