Global financial institutions are increasingly adopting the RMB for payments. A total of 1,131 banks were using the RMB for payments with mainland China and Hong Kong, representing 37% of all institutions exchanging payments with China as of February 2016, according to SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) data.
This is an 18% increase over the last two years. The majority of these institutions are located in Asia-Pacific, followed by Europe, the Americas, and then Africa and the Middle East.
Compared to February 2014, the strongest growth is seen in the Americas, followed by Asia-Pacific, Europe and Africa.
In February 2016, the RMB remains the fifth most active currency for global payments by value with a share of 1.76%. This represents a decrease of 27.5% compared to January 2016.
Payments across all currencies decreased in value by 1.3% during the same period.
"The adoption of the currency by more financial institutions…will however further increase the global utility of the RMB for payments and, over time, will drive continued internationalization of the Chinese currency," says Michael Moon, head of payments, Asia-Pacific at SWIFT.
About 24% of the offshore RMB payments done with mainland China and Hong Kong are handled by Chinese banks with a global footprint.