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Renminbi increasingly used for trade with China/HK

Seven countries began to use the renminbi for more than 10 per cent of their direct payments (by value) with China and Hong Kong in the two years from October 2014 to September 2016. According to SWIFT's RMB Tracker, this brings the total to 57 countries. SWIFT set the 10 per cent threshold as marker of adoption of RMB payments by value with China and Hong Kong, compared to other currencies. The seven new countries are Spain, Bolivia, Colombia, Mozambique, Namibia, Kuwait and Georgia.

Astrid Thorsen, head of SWIFT's business intelligence solutions, said: “Over the last two years, we have witnessed a continued increase in RMB usage for direct payments with China and Hong Kong, with most of the growth coming from early adopters and main RMB clearing centres, such as Singapore, the United Kingdom and South Korea.”

However, the US and Japan, two of China's important trade partners, still show low renminbi adoption. Thorsen added: “The latest announcement related to the appointment of the first RMB clearing centre in the United States should positively impact the country’s RMB usage.”

The graph below shows the increasing global usage of renminbi between January 2014 and last month.

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