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RMB Reaches Nearly 40% Adoption Across Financial Institutions Worldwide

March 29, 2016

SWIFT data shows a double digit growth of RMB adoption by financial institutions established in all regions. In February 2016, 1,131 banks were using the RMB for payments with mainland China and Hong Kong, representing 37% of all institutions exchanging payments with mainland China and Hong Kong across all currencies.

This is an 18% increase over the last two years. The majority of these institutions are located in Asia-Pacific (557), followed by Europe (376), the Americas (124) and then Africa and the Middle East (74). Compared to February 2014, the strongest growth is seen in the Americas (+31%), followed by Asia-Pacific (+18%), Europe (+17%) and Africa -- Middle East (+12%).

The SWIFT data also indicates that 24% of the offshore RMB payments done with mainland China and Hong Kong are handled by Chinese banks with a global footprint, meaning Chinese banks that have offshore branches and/or subsidiaries.

"The global volume of payments in RMB fluctuates, and is actually down by value compared to last month, likely influenced by the seasonal effect of the Chinese New Year," says Michael Moon, Head of Payments, Asia-Pacific at SWIFT. "Furthermore, as widely reported in the press, the number of days it takes to settle payments in RMB has grown to the highest level in many years. The adoption of the currency by more financial institutions, within Asia-Pacific and abroad, will however further increase the global utility of the RMB for payments and, over time, will drive continued internationalisation of the Chinese currency."

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.

About SWIFT and RMB Internationalisation Since 2010, SWIFT has actively supported its customers and the financial industry regarding RMB internationalisation through various publications and reports. Through its Business Intelligence Solutions team, SWIFT publishes key adoption statistics in the RMB Tracker, insights on the implications of RMB internationalisation, perspectives on RMB clearing and offshore clearing guidelines, supports banks' commercial RMB product launches and provides in-depth analysis and business intelligence, as well as engaging with offshore clearing centres and the Chinese financial community to support the further internationalisation of the RMB.

The SWIFT network fully supports global RMB transactions, and its messaging services enable Chinese character transportation via Chinese Commercial Code (CCC) in FIN or via Chinese characters in MX (ISO 20022 messages). It offers a suite of dedicated RMB business intelligence products and services to support financial institutions and corporates. In addition, SWIFT collaborates with the community to publish the Offshore and Cross-Border RMB Best Practice Guidelines, which facilitate standardised RMB back office operations.

About SWIFT

SWIFT is a global member-owned cooperative and the world's leading provider of secure financial messaging services.

We provide our community with a platform for messaging and standards for communicating, and we offer products and services to facilitate access and integration, identification, analysis and financial crime compliance.

Our messaging platform, products and services connect more than 11,000 banking and securities organisations, market infrastructures and corporate customers in more than 200 countries and territories, enabling them to communicate securely and exchange standardised financial messages in a reliable way. As their trusted provider, we facilitate global and local financial flows, support trade and commerce all around the world; we relentlessly pursue operational excellence and continually seek ways to lower costs, reduce risks and eliminate operational inefficiencies.

Headquartered in Belgium, SWIFT's international governance and oversight reinforces the neutral, global character of its cooperative structure. SWIFT's global office network ensures an active presence in all the major financial centres.

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