Throughout 2012, RMB adoption by the United States was flat, with year-end figures pointing towards a major decline.
From November to December 2012, the United States experienced a 38% decrease in RMB payments dropping the United States three positions to #6 in offshore RMB countries. According to SWIFT traffic data, the top five offshore RMB countries are now the United Kingdom, Singapore, Australia, France and Luxembourg.
Lisa O'Connor, RMB Director for SWIFT, says: "We expect that most US flows we currently see in RMB are non-trade related and are subject to more variability than countries with strong underlying trade flows like Europe so this is not unexpected. RMB as an invoicing currency between the US and China needs to overcome a number of challenges including inertia and systems set up to invoice only in USD."
In December 2012, the United States represented 4.1% of RMB payments by value, versus 6.6% in November 2012 (excluding China and Hong Kong). In December 2012, 95.5% of the payments value between the United States and China/Hong Kong was still performed in USD, with only 0.3% in RMB.
Overall, RMB payments decreased by 4.2% between November 2012 and December 2012 (versus an average decrease of 5.7% across all currencies). Still, the RMB remains world currency #14 with an all-time high market share of 0.57% in SWIFT payments (versus 0.56% in November 2012).