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Chinese Renminbi Overtakes the Swiss Franc as a World Payments Currency

For the third consecutive month, the Renminbi (RMB) is one of the top ten most-used currencies for payments worldwide. With an activity share of 1.39% in payments value, the RMB now ranks 7th, closely followed by the Swiss Franc at 1.38%.

In January 2014, RMB payments increased by 30.6% while the growth for all payments currencies was at 4.8%. RMB payments are still heavily concentrated in the Hong Kong market with an activity share of 73%. The eight next most active offshore RMB centres (United Kingdom, Singapore, Taiwan, United States, France, Australia, Luxembourg and Germany) together represent 85% of total RMB payments by value (excluding Hong Kong and China).

In January 2014, excluding Hong Kong and China, the RMB offshore weight of the U.S. increased to 7.3 %, up from 4.1% in January 2013. Taiwan experienced a similar jump in weight to 9.0% up from 3.6% during the same period in 2013.

Michael Moon, Director, Payments Markets, Asia Pacific at SWIFT, says: "Looking at the first month of 2014, which was the highest payments value recorded for RMB so far, it is clear that the RMB is on its way to remaining a top ten currency for global payments. Hong Kong continues its role as the leading RMB hub, and we see that the overall expansion of this market allows for strong growth in offshore centres, such as the U.S. and Taiwan. These new offshore markets play a significant role in maintaining the RMB's position as a ‘business as usual' world payments currency."

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