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Renminbi enters world’s top 5 currencies for payments

The renminbi has clocked up another important milestone on its march towards internationalisation – breaking into the top five most used payment currencies in the world.        

According to data from Swift, 2.17 per cent of the world's payments were conducted using the Chinese currency in December, putting it above both the Canadian and Australian dollars for the first time writes the FT's Josh Noble in Hong Kong.    

The renminbi now sits just behind the yen in terms of transactions, with the pound, the euro and the dollar completing the top five. During 2014, payments made in the Chinese currency more than doubled from the previous year.    

Swift's Wim Raymaekers said the latest data confirmed the renminbi's "transition from an 'emerging' to a 'business as usual' payment currency".    

Beijing has taken a number of steps to help boost use of its currency in the past year, such as broadening renminbi investment options and setting up clearing banks in a number of international financial centres.    

The renminbi's globalisation project could move up another gear later this year. In June, MSCI will rule on whether Chinese equities should be included in its emerging markets index, potentially drawing in billions of dollars of new investment.    

And at the end of this year, the IMF will carry out a review of its Special Drawing Rights system, which could lead to the renminbi being declared an official reserve currency.    



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