SWIFT: Chinese yuan accounts for 2.31% of global payments in Dec’15

The latest SWIFT RMB Tracker, the study which tracks the Chinese yuan international adoption, was published today, showing that the Chinese currency gained share as a world payments currency in December 2015.

In the last month of 2015, the RMB accounted for 2.31% of global payments, with an increased market share compared to 2.28% in November 2015.

The yuan retained its position as the #5 most active currency for global payments by value, lagging behind the Japanese yen (2.78%). The top three as usual is devoted to the US dollar (43.89%), the Euro (29.39%) and the British pound sterling (8.43%).


SWIFT notes the growing RMB adoption for payments by the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. In 2015, the UAE’s use of the RMB accounted for 74% of payments by value to China and Hong Kong, up 52% from 2014 levels. In Qatar, the RMB was used for 60% of all payments, a jump of 247% compared to 2014.

However, SWIFT data also shows that the majority of payments between these Gulf States and China/Hong Kong are in US dollars and subsequently intermediated, mainly by USD clearing banks.

Sido Bestani, Head of Middle East, Turkey and Africa at SWIFT, says,

“Use of the RMB has been rising across the Middle East region over the last few years. Adoption has been supported by developments such as the establishment of an RMB clearing centre in Qatar last year – the first in the Middle East – and the recent memorandum of co-operation signed between the People’s Bank of China and the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates to set up RMB clearing arrangements in the UAE. We anticipate these and similar efforts will continue to drive RMB adoption across the region.”

The announcement from SWIFT can be viewed by clicking here.

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