Singapore 'should capitalise on unique strengths to enhance yuan clearing business'

Singapore, which recently launched offshore clearing services for China's yuan currency, should play to its own strengths in developing itself as a yuan clearing hub, bankers said on Monday.

While Hong Kong has a clear edge as an offshore yuan clearing hub due to its natural pool of liquidity, Singapore has its unique advantages as well, they added.

It will not be easy to erode Hong Kong's head start but the Republic can capitalise on its role as a global trading hub and its strength as a wealth management centre to help the yuan business here gain ground, said Standard Chartered (China) chief executive officer and executive vice chairman Lim Cheng Teck.

Regional treasury centres can also be encouraged to be set up shop in Singapore, Mr Lim said at a panel held as part of the FutureChina conference at the Shangri-La Hotel on Monday.

It is also likely that the other yuan clearing centres around the world - Hong Kong, Taiwan and London - will evolve naturally differentiated roles based on their geographical location, trade patterns or investment attraction.

Singapore, for instance, can focus on South-east Asia and the capital markets, while London might focus on wholesale institutional markets, OCBC chief executive Samuel Tsien said.

Mr Fang Xing Hai, director of the Shanghai Municipal Office of Financial Services, noted that if the Singapore government thinks of "particular measures" to speed up the development of the offshore yuan centre here, Beijing will be willing to work together on these efforts.