Although nearly 100 countries had RMB payments with Hong Kong and China in September 2012, 90% is concentrated in 10 countries.
London tops the list, with its share rising to 28% in September, up from 25% in January. That saw London usurp Singapore as the leading payments centre, with its share falling from 34% in January to 26% last month.
Top ten RMB payment centres with Hong Kong and China
Wim Raymaekers, head of banking markets at Swift, says London was already bigger than any other centre in terms of RMB FX trading by the end of last year.
“We look at the total volume of payments, not only trade settlement-related payments, so it was only a matter of time before London overtook Singapore,” he says.
Raymaekers also says the decision by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority in June to extend the opening hours of clearing settlement was also boosting volumes in London.
“Corporates and banks can access the real-time clearing system in Hong Kong for a longer time during the day,” he says.
Hong Kong remains the world’s largest offshore RMB centre, processing 80% of RMB payments. Overall, RMB payments in September fell by 7.4% compared with August 2012, while all currencies declined by 4.3%.
The RMB remains the 14th-biggest world payments currency with a share of 0.51%.