RMB internationalisation stalls in 2016


SWIFT RMB Tracker shows an overall decline in RMB payments by value for 2016, closing out the year in sixth place among currencies used for international payments

 SWIFT data shows that compared to 2015 the payments value for the RMB decreased by as much as 29.5% in 2016. The RMB’s share as an international payments currency dropped from 2.31% in December 2015 to 1.68% in December 2016, ending the year as the sixth most active currency for international payments.

RMB payments value decreased by 15.08% in December 2016 compared to November 2016, whilst overall, payments value for all currencies increased slightly by 0.67%.

“The decrease in RMB usage for payments in December may be attributed to a convergence of several events: the slowdown of the Chinese economy, the volatility of the RMB exchange rate and regulatory measures on capital outflows,” says Michael Moon, Head of Payments Markets, APAC, SWIFT. “Despite the slowdown, RMB internationalisation will continue to benefit from major financial infrastructure milestones, such as CIPS for cross-border clearing and additional RMB offshore clearing centres. These efforts, combined with a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed in 2016 between CIPS and SWIFT to grow payments traffic outside of China, will have a positive impact on the continued internationalisation of the currency.”


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