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Swift payments data position London as next RMB offshore centre

London is already the leading centre for offshore RMB trading outside of Hong Kong and mainland China, according to figures from Swift, the financial messaging platform spanning 209 countries.

Swift said this should come as welcome news for UK chancellor George Osborne in a week in which he signed an agreement between the UK government and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority aimed at fostering closer collaboration towards the internationalization of the renminbi. According to data from Swift’s RMB Tracker, outside Hong Kong and mainland China, London accounted for 30% of RMB payments and 46% of RMB FX transactions in the fourth quarter of 2011.

That placed London on a par with Singapore in RMB payments and first in RMB FX.

Furthermore, London’s dominance outside of Hong Kong and China is increasing.

In RMB payments, Singapore started strongly early in 2011, but lost ground and its share fell from 52.9% in the first quarter to 30.6% in the fourth quarter. In contrast, the UK’s share rose from 22.1% in the first quarter to 30.0% in the fourth quarter.

 2011 value of RMB payments outside China & Hong Kong

 Source: Swift

In RMB FX, London has maintained a healthy lead in market share outside Hong Kong and mainland China throughout the year.

2011 number of RMB FX confirmations outside China & Hong Kong

 Source: Swift

  Swift’s figures also showed that RMB payments’ growth outpaced other currencies, growing at a compound monthly rate of 14.8% in 2011 versus an average of 0.7% for other currencies.

That propelled the RMB as a payments currency from 30th in the world in January 2011 to 17th at the end of last year.

No other BRIC country did better, with payments in RUB (13th) growing at a monthly rate of 7.4%, INR (51st) rising 4.1% and BRL (60th) climbing 2.3%.

 RMB payments growth outpaced other other currencies in 2011

 Source: Swift


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