Yuan Regains Fifth Place in Global Payments Rankings, Swift Says

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China’s yuan reclaimed fifth place in currency rankings tracking usage for global payments, according to the Society for Worldwide Financial Telecommunications.

The currency’s market share rose to 2.03 percent in March from 1.81 percent in February, when it fell two levels to seventh place. February’s slippage was likely due to fewer transactions taking place during the week-long Chinese New Year holiday, according to Swift, which is based in La Hulpe, Belgium. The yuan ranked fifth for the first time in December and trails the dollar, euro, British pound and Japanese yen.

China is pushing for the yuan to join the other four currencies in obtaining reserve status at the International Monetary Fund and the latest usage data will help support its case before a review later this year. The yuan failed to qualify in 2010 as it was not judged “freely usable” in trade and finance.

The Chinese currency became the second most-used by Canada for payments with China and Hong Kong, lagging only the Canadian dollar, Swift said in a statement on Thursday. The North American nation, which has Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. as its yuan clearing bank, ranks No. 15 in the world in terms of yuan payments value, excluding China and Hong Kong, Swift said.

China is making the yuan more “freely usable” in order to be included in the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights basket of reserve currencies, People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said in Washington on April 18. The IMF’s board is scheduled to conduct a twice-a-decade review of SDRs in October after an informal briefing in May.

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