• Yuan gains ground, outpaces franc

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    SHANGHAI: China’s yuan has overtaken the Swiss franc to become the seventh most-used currency for payments worldwide, a global transaction services organization said, as Beijing seeks to further internationalize the unit.

    The yuan still lags behind the US dollar—which had a 38.75-percent share in worldwide payments last month—as well as the euro, British pound, Japanese yen, Canadian dollar and Australian dollar, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) said.

    But the Chinese currency, also known as the renminbi (RMB), is ahead of the Swiss franc—traditionally seen as a safe haven for investors—the Hong Kong dollar and Thai baht which rounded out the top 10, it said in a statement on Thursday.

    “Looking at the first month of 2014, which was the highest payments value recorded for RMB so far, it is clear that the RMB is on its way to remaining a top 10 currency for global payments,” Asia-Pacific director of payments markets for SWIFT, Michael Moon, was quoted as saying.

    The market share of the yuan was 1.39 percent in January, putting it in the top 10 most-used currencies in global payments for the third consecutive month, SWIFT said. It moved up from eighth place in December.

    Hong Kong, Britain, Singapore, Taiwan and the United States were the top five offshore markets using yuan for payments, it said.

    “Hong Kong continues its role as the leading RMB hub,” Moon said.

    AFP

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