London still ranks first for offshore yuan trading, with Singapore in 5th place

London is also the largest RMB payments centre outside of greater China with a 5.66 per cent share.
London is also the largest RMB payments centre outside of greater China with a 5.66 per cent share.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - London has retained its position as the dominant offshore hub for trading the Chinese renminbi (RMB) or yuan, according to a report released on Tuesday (April 25) by global financial network Swift.

As of March 2017, Swift's data shows that 36.3 per cent, or more than a third, of the RMB foreign exchange transactions, excluding China, are conducted with the UK. Hong Kong is in second place (29.3 per cent), with the United States and France in joint third (7.3 per cent).

Singapore is in fifth place with a 5 per cent share of such trades.

London is also the largest RMB payments centre outside of greater China with a 5.66 per cent share - behind Hong Kong with a 76.14 per cent activity share but well above Singapore at 4.19 per cent.

"This data demonstrates that London is a top choice for international banking activity," said Mr Javier Pérez-Tasso, Swift's chief executive for Americas and UK. "Despite a decline in global forex trading volumes and broader market uncertainties, London's role as a global financial centre and international payments hub remains on a strong footing."


Top five countries doing FX transactions in RMB. GRAPHIC: SWIFT WATCH

Swift also said there has also been a steady increase in RMB forex transactions over the last five years, with the number of forex trades in RMB reaching more than 13 million in 2016 from 1.8 million in 2011.

The RMB now ranks fifth as a world forex currency in terms of trading value, behind the US dollar, euro, yen and pound, but just above the Australian dollar and the Swiss franc.


FX transactions in RMB since 2011. GRAPHIC: SWIFT WATCH

The RMB is not one of the G-10 currencies but in terms of traded value it is well above any of the other emerging market currencies, said Swift.

Set up in 1973, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or Swift, is a member-owned cooperative that provides safe and secure financial transactions/