RMB internationalization to depend on Chinese economy

By Zhang Fang
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, April 1, 2014
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Although China's currency is just starting out in the global currency system, its value will continue to climb in future decades, as long as the Chinese real economy grows steadily, according to a report released by Renmin University of China.

It is highly likely that the global share of renminbi (RMB) trade will increase, since the currency has proven to be very robust in international payments.

At the end of 2013, RMB cross-border trade settlements performed by banks amounted to 3.16 trillion yuan, increasing 54.15 percent compared with the same period last year.

This has directly promoted the international status of the RMB. The RMB internationalization index (RII), an indicator of the share of the Chinese yuan in global trade, has increased to 1.36 by the third quarter of 2013, up by 53.61 percent year-on-year, according to the report.

Both global credit and bond markets witnessed a further expansion in RMB use, and more countries are expected to include the RMB in official reserves. It is estimated that by the end of 2014, the RII will surge to 1.88, according to the report.

However, the report says the increase in the RMB share is dependent on China's ability in maintaining its own economic power.

"The sound and steady development of China's economy is the key to promoting the global share of the RMB," said Tu Yonghong, the team leader of the report. "This will ensure the credibility of the renminbi."

The internationalization index of the US dollar accounted for 52.6 percent by 2012, followed by 27.65 percent for the euro, 4.52 percent for the yen and 4.00 percent for the pound, said the report.

China became the world's largest goods trading country in 2013, reaching US$4 trillion dollars, but the global role of its currency is falling far behind.

"The RMB will probably take two to three years to take the third place in the world, but it will take about 20 to 30 years to achieve its goal, accounting for 20% in global trading payment," Tu said.

Chinese authorities said that China would devote itself to pushing forward exchange rate reform to unlock RMB's flexibility.

"But first of all, we need to have successful financial reform and safeguard policies to support the competiveness of the RMB, and help the enterprises to go global," Liu Zhiqin, a senior fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies of Renmin University and the ex-chief representative of the Beijing office of the Zurich Cantonal Bank.

"But that's not enough. We also need to increase the local financing after we invest in other countries," said Liu. "And promote China's treasury bonds in other countries. Our sovereign bonds have good credibility."

The challenges facing the development of RMB are both from domestic and overseas. The report pointed out that internationally, the tapering of the U.S. quantitative easing monetary policy will boost demand for the U.S. dollar, and the financial aid to Ukraine from the European Union will also cast a shadow on the future of the RMB.

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