ICBC Singapore clears 40 trillion yuan since becoming sole clearing bank in 2013

Chinese one-hundred yuan banknotes are arranged for a photograph in Tokyo, Japan, on April 4, 2013. ICBC Singapore has cleared 40 trillion yuan since being appointed the sole yuan clearing bank here in Feb 2013, the bank said on Tuesday. -- PHOT
Chinese one-hundred yuan banknotes are arranged for a photograph in Tokyo, Japan, on April 4, 2013. ICBC Singapore has cleared 40 trillion yuan since being appointed the sole yuan clearing bank here in Feb 2013, the bank said on Tuesday. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE - ICBC Singapore has cleared 40 trillion yuan since being appointed the sole yuan clearing bank here in Feb 2013, the bank said on Tuesday.

This milestone was reached mainly thanks to a very busy 2014, during which the bank cleared 37.5 trillion yuan, more than 14 times the 2.6 trillion yuan it had cleared the year before.

As a clearing bank, ICBC Singapore handles the clearing of yuan currency transactions, such as trade payments, conducted by banks and companies here and across the region.

Previously, banks in Singapore and elsewhere had to tap the yuan clearing facility in Hong Kong to help their clients perform such transactions.

The yuan, also known as the renminbi (RMB), has grown in popularity here over the past few years, especially among companies that do business in China.

In September last year, the Monetary Authority of Singapore said yuan deposits here reached 257 billion yuan, up 67 per cent from the year before.

"Singapore, as the biggest offshore RMB hub outside Hong Kong, will continue to thrive as the existing platform further expands and improves," said ICBC Singapore general manager Zhang Wei Wu.

"By providing more than 1.1 trillion yuan in the capital pool, ICBC acts as an important force to support market stability in times of shrinking liquidity."

The bank's next priority is to implement a 24-7 clearing service and a yuan "real time gross settlement" service, which is the fastest possible money transfer system available in banking, through which settlements are made in real time.

"We hope to build up a more advanced financial service infrastructure so as to reinforce Singapore's advantage as an offshore RMB market and push forward the RMB's internationalisation."