Singapore remained its position as the top Renminbi (RMB) offshore clearing centre outside Chinese mainland and Hong Kong SAR in March, overtaking London for two straight months, the latest SWIFT data showed Monday.
The value of Singapore's RMB payments rose by 375 percent on year in March, the global transaction services organization said. The city-state's weight represented 6.8 percent of the overall RMB payments value, ahead of London with its weight of 5.9 percent.
Hong Kong SAR continues to be the top yuan offshore clearing centre. The amount of offshore RMB cleared through Hong Kong was 72.4 percent of the global volume in March.
"London overtook Singapore in June 2012, but since February 2014, it has slipped behind Singapore despite a good growth rate of 203 percent year-over-year from 2013," the SWIFT added.
Claus Kwon, head of Securities Markets at SWIFT Asia Pacific, said in a statement that the organization has been expecting "the Singapore RMB payments flows to accelerate, especially as Chinese companies use it as a hub to reach ASEAN countries" since Singapore branch of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) was appointed as a clearing bank in the lion city.
He also expected Singapore to develop a broader range of RMB investment offerings, particularly in capital markets and asset management.
ICBC Singapore was designated a yuan clearing bank in Singapore in February last year and started offering yuan clearing bank services for other participating banks in last May.
The clearing bank carried out 6.9 trillion yuan (1.1 trillion U. S. dollars) clearing bank services in the first quarter this year, which was 2.7 times the total amount cleared last year.
Leong Sing Chiong, assistant managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the central bank, also revealed last month that the Renminbi deposits in Singapore stood at 200 billion yuan (32.0 billion U.S. dollars) at the end of last year, up 70 percent over March last year.
Meanwhile, since the launch of the RMB market in Singapore, there were some "Lion City" bonds issued here. In last November, ICBC Singapore sold 2 billion yuan (320 million U.S. dollars) " Lion City" bond. In February, the Singapore branch of the Bank of China issued 3 billion yuan (480 million U.S. dollars) "Lion City" bond.
SWIFT added in its latest report that at a global level, RMB payments grew by 29 percent month-on-month in March, and was the seventh most popular global payments currency, accounting for 1.62 percent of all payments activity, up from 1.42 percent in February.