Singapore maintains lead as world's top yuan clearing centre after HK

SINGAPORE - Singapore has stayed ahead of London for the second straight month as the world's top offshore clearing centre for the Chinese yuan, latest data from payments network Swift showed on Monday.

Yuan payments in the Republic jumped 375 per cent in March from a year ago, putting it behind only China and Hong Kong in clearing yuan transactions.

Singapore now represents 6.8 per cent of global yuan payments, behind Hong Kong at 72.4 per cent. London represents 5.9 per cent.

In June 2012, London overtook Singapore as the main yuan offshore clearing centre after Hong Kong, but fell behind again in February this year.

"Ever since last year's nomination of ICBC as a clearing bank in Singapore, we have been expecting the Singapore (yuan) payments flows to accelerate, especially as Chinese companies use it as a hub to reach Asean countries," said Mr Claus Kwon, head of securities markets for Asia Pacific at Swift, in a statement.

"We are now anticipating securities traffic to ramp up as well," he added, noting that the Monetary Authority of Singapore this month indicated that it is looking to develop a broader range of yuan investment offerings, particularly in capital markets and asset management.

The yuan also strengthened its overall position in March as the seventh most-used currency for global payments, accounting for 1.62 per cent of all payments activity, up from 1.42 per cent in February.

Yuan payments rose in value by 29 per cent in March over February, Swift said.