From China to the world: a timeline of the yuan’s internationalisation

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 September, 2016, 9:50pm
UPDATED : Friday, 30 September, 2016, 9:50pm

The renminbi (RMB) joining the SDR basket of elite currencies is the latest breakthrough in the internationalisation of the Chinese currency. Here we look back at past milestones.

February, 2004: Hong Kong banks begin providing personal yuan services, including deposit, remittance, exchange and credit card services

July, 2005: Beijing abolishes the yuan’s peg to the US dollar, and kicks off a float era, allowing the yuan to trade within a band around a mid price set every morning by the People’s Bank of China

June, 2009: HKMA and PBOC sign an agreement to allow trade between Hong Kong and the mainland to be settled in yuan in five cities

June, 2010: Cross-border yuan settlement scheme expands to 20 provinces and cities

July, 2010: Hopewell Highway Infrastructure issues first yuan corporate bond in Hong Kong, raising one billion yuan

August, 2010: PBOC allows yuan clearing banks to trade directly in mainland interbank market

January, 2011: PBOC announces pilot scheme for mainland companies to settle overseas direct investments in yuan

April, 2011: First yuan IPO in Hong Kong with the listing of Hui Xian Real Estate Investment Trust, a spin-off of Li Ka-shing’s Beijing Oriental Plaza

August, 2011: Overseas firms able to use yuan to settle foreign direct investments in China instead of the US dollar

January, 2012: Hong Kong signs agreement with City of London to develop offshore yuan trading centre

June, 2012: China green-lights direct trading of yuan and Japanese yen in Tokyo and Shanghai

October, 2012: Hong Kong’s SFC approves the first dual-currency exchange-traded fund

January, 2013: PBOC appoints Bank of China’s Taipei branch as yuan clearing bank for Taiwan. First cross-border yuan loans authorised with 15 banks in Hong Kong permitted to offer a combined 2 billion yuan in loans to companies in Qianhai

February, 2013: Beijing names Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) as clearing bank for offshore yuan business in Singapore

April, 2013: Direct trading starts between the yuan and the Australian dollar

June, 2013: PBOC and Bank of England agree to a three-year currency swap line of up to 200 billion yuan. Hong Kong launches the world’s first offshore yuan interbank rate fixing

September, 2013: Shanghai designates a free-trade zone to have freer convertibility of yuan

November, 2014: Daily exchange cap of 20,000 yuan a day removed ahead of the launch of the stock connect scheme to tie Hong Kong and Shanghai stock markets, allowing retail investors to conduct cross-border trading in yuan up to 550 billion yuan

July, 2015: Launch of the mutual fund recognition scheme up to a total of 600 billion yuan

August, 2015: PBOC unveils one-off devaluation of the yuan by 2 per cent and changes to the mid-point price setting mechanism

October, 2015: PBOC launches the first phase of China International Payment System and allows certain foreign banks to trade in mainland bond market

November, 2015: State Council pledges to make the onshore yuan freely tradeable by 2020

December, 2015: IMF says it will include the yuan in its Special Drawing Right currency reserve basket

February, 2016: China Interbank Bond Market scheme announced, allowing foreign institutions to trade bonds directly through Chinese banks holding a type A licence

August, 2016: World Bank approved as the first SDR bond issuer in China

October, 2016: Renminbi joins IMF SDR as the fifth reserve currency in the elite club, alongside the US dollar, euro, sterling pound and yen