Since the launch of the first SWIFT RMB Tracker in November 2011, the RMB has shown stellar growth for payments, while RMB usage by value in traditional trade finance -- letters of credit and collections -- has been decreasing since 2014.
The Chinese currency is now the third-most-active currency in trade finance, after the euro, with a share of 4.61%. Three years ago, the RMB was ranked #2 in trade finance with a share of 8.66%.
Since October 2013, the trade finance values in RMB have decreased by 66%, whilst trade finance across all currencies decreased in value by 35%.
"The general slowdown of the Chinese and world economies over the past few years has impacted global trade growth across all currencies, not just the RMB," says Michael Moon, Head of Payments Markets, Asia Pacific, SWIFT.
"For example, commodities trade growth has been declining as evidenced by the reduction of documentary trade. On a positive note, the inclusion of the RMB in the Special Drawing Right (SDR) basket should generate further trust and confidence in the RMB currency and support further RMB internationalization."
In terms of international payments, compared to September 2016, the RMB has dropped one position to #6 in the currency rankings for international payments, with a share of 1.67%. This month's decrease is likely due to seasonal effects following the Golden Week holiday in China in October. RMB payments value decreased by 22.44% compared to September 2016, whilst in general all payments currencies decreased by only 5.96%.