Banking giant Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) kicked off its yuan clearing services in Singapore on Monday, marking a milestone in Singapore' s development as an offshore yuan hub.
In separate developments, HSBC and Standard Chartered both said on Monday they are offering offshore Renminbi bonds to raise 500 million yuan (81.7 million U.S. dollars) and 1 billion yuan (163.4 million U.S. dollars), respectively. These are Singapore's first dim sum bonds.
Singapore Exchange said on the same day that it is launching its depository services for renminbi-denominated bonds.
Standard Chartered said its three-year senior unsecured issuance is priced with a coupon of 2.625 percent, after generating over 3 billion yuan in orders from 75 investors across Asia. The bond will be settled on May 31.
HSBC priced its two-year fixed rate notes at 2.25 percent.
Both bonds will be cleared through Central Depository Pte, a unit of Singapore Exchange.
Standard Chartered said its bond will be settled through ICBC Singapore.
ICBC Singapore, which was designated as the yuan clearing bank in Singapore earlier this year, said 49 banks from Singapore and elsewhere opened accounts with it to become participating banks. It cleared 53 transactions worth a total of 1.61 billion yuan (263. 1 million U.S. dollars) on Monday.
Singapore is the first regional financial center outside China to have a yuan clearing bank. In China's Hong Kong and Taiwan, the local units of the Bank of China had been picked to clear yuan transactions in 2004 and 2012, respectively.
The local units of the Bank of China and the ICBC were both granted qualifying full bank licenses in Singapore last year, which allow them to open up to 25 outlets in the city state.
Singapore is among the several cities, including London and Luxemburg, to pursue offshore yuan clearing banks. Analysts said Singapore wants a yuan clearing bank firstly because it wants to grow its offshore yuan capital market. With a local yuan clearing bank, it will be more efficient for the transactions to be cleared and better for the growth of the offshore-yuan capital market and hence its status as a regional offshore yuan hub.
"As Singapore's role as an international offshore RMB center becomes increasingly important, customers coming to Singapore Exchange can be assured of our commitment to keep growing and enhancing our suite of RMB and China-related products and services, " said Magnus Bocker, chief executive officer of Singapore Exchange.