Compared to last year, the payments value for the RMB decreased by as much as 29.5% in 2016, shows the latest SWIFT RMB Tracker.
The RMB's share as an international payments currency dropped from 2.31% in December 2015 to 1.68% in December 2016, ending the year as the sixth most active currency for international payments.
RMB payments value decreased by 15.08% in December 2016 compared to November 2016, while overall, payments value for all currencies increased slightly by 0.67%.
"The decrease in RMB usage for payments in December may be attributed to a convergence of several events: the slowdown of the Chinese economy, the volatility of the RMB exchange rate and regulatory measures on capital outflows," says Michael Moon, Head of Payments Markets, APAC, SWIFT.
Moon notes that despite the slowdown, RMB internationalization will continue to benefit from major financial infrastructure milestones, such as CIPS for cross-border clearing and a forthcoming RMB offshore centre in the United States.
“These efforts, combined with a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed in 2016 between CIPS and SWIFT to grow payments traffic outside of China, will have a positive impact on the continued internationalization of the currency,” says Moon.