Banks and corporates attending Sibos in Osaka have pointed to the need for favourable regulations and payment systems compatible with the Rmb as the currency grows in global trade transactions.

An opinion poll carried out by Barclays at Sibos reveals that 87% of bank executives are open to holding the Chinese renmibi (Rmb) for trade or investment purposes, with over two thirds (68%) having already done business in Rmb. 59% of those surveyed believe Asia offers the greatest opportunities outside of their home market.

However, the majority of respondents were sceptical about when the Chinese currency would become fully convertible, and regulation remains the single biggest concern for 66% of banks.

Matt Tuck, global head of financial institutions at Barclays says: “The poll results confirm that banks continue to focus on the opportunities in Asia with the Rmb continuing to grow in importance. It is also no surprise that regulation remains the biggest challenge and a theme of significant debate and discussion here at Sibos.”

There will be five Rmb-related sessions at Sibos this year, and Swift has taken the opportunity to publish a white paper on the importance of having a payment infrastructure compatible with global payment systems in the context of growing Rmb internationalisation.

‘Rmb internationalisation: Perspectives on the future of Rmb clearing’ was created with contributions from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Bank of China, Bank of Communications, Citibank, HSBC, JP Morgan, RBS and Standard Chartered, and shows that the Rmb has advanced from number 35 in the ranking of world payment currencies in October 2010 to number 14 in August 2012.

Patrick de Courcy, head of markets and initiatives, Asia Pacific, Swift, says: “The existing arrangement for offshore Rmb clearing has served the industry well to-date. In the medium to long term, however, it is important that we have an enhanced platform that can address the need for longer operating hours to cover various time zones and lower the amount and cost of liquidity required to support these transactions. This white paper will be a practical point for dialogue related to the development of a future cross-border Rmb clearing system.

“There will, however, be some challenges for the industry related to the translation of international standards, reference data and the use of non-Latin characters.”

To produce the white paper, Swift collected business intelligence data from more than 10,000 financial institutions across 212 countries.