Singapore to use financial hub status to promote wider use of yuan in South-east Asia

Singapore will use its role as a regional financial centre to help promote the use of the Chinese yuan in South-east Asia. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Singapore will use its role as a regional financial centre to help promote the use of the Chinese yuan in South-east Asia. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Singapore will use its role as a regional financial centre to help promote the use of the Chinese yuan in South-east Asia, said the assistant managing director of the development and international group at the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Mr Leong Sing Chiong.

Speaking at a conference on the offshore yuan on Thursday, Mr Leong said wider use of the yuan, or renminbi (RMB), would ultimately help to strengthen trade and investment flows between China and the rest of Asia.

"Based on the growth in the use of the RMB here over the last few months, there is much to be excited about, but much more work lies ahead," Mr Leong said.

For a start, Singapore and China have agreed to make it easier for companies based in Suzhou Industrial Park and Tianjin Eco-City to obtain and use the yuan for trade financing, he said. Guidelines on how these companies can benefit will be released in the middle of the year.

Singapore regulators will also promote more yuan activity in the capital markets and asset management industry, Mr Leong added.

This would mean encouraging the launch of more yuan-denominated investment products here.

Singapore's role in the internationalisation of the yuan is not as a competitor in an all-out race, he said. Instead, the city should demonstrate its relevance and show how it can add value to the development of the currency.

"It is critical to build RMB capabilities early to prepare well for the future," Mr Leong said.