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MARKETS & INVESTING | Tony Chua, Hong Kong

HKMA: Hong Kong is Spain’s CNY business centre

Chan believes Hong Kong can provide the best support for Spanish corporations and financial institutions to conduct renminbi businesses as the currency’s internationalisation progresses.

Hong Kong’s renminbi business platform offers a full range of renminbi services, from banking to financing and wealth management, Monetary Authority Chief Executive Norman Chan told seminar attendees in Madrid. 

The seminar, entitled “Trade & Investment in Renminbi: A New Era”, was the fourth overseas roadshow the Monetary Authority conducted this year, attracting almost 200 participants from government agencies, financial institutions and corporates in Spain and other parts of Europe.

“With the growth of advanced economies becoming more subdued, emerging market economies - particularly China - will be the major sources of growth for the global economy in the next few years,” Mr Chan said.

“Under this trend, there is a strong business case for the United States and European corporates to go East and seek to enhance trade and investment links with China proactively, while at the same time capturing the new opportunities brought about by the internationalisation of the renminbi.”

He said the internationalisation of the renminbi has been progressing well in the past year or so. The share of China’s external trade settled in renminbi increased from only 0.7% in the first half of 2010 to 4% in the second half of the year, and to 9% in the first half this year, according to a government report.

Among China’s renminbi trade settlement transactions, about 80% are handled by banks in Hong Kong. For the first eight months of 2011, renminbi trade settlement transactions Hong Kong banks handled amounted to more than RMB1 trillion.

Hong Kong is also the largest offshore renminbi market, with renminbi deposits reaching RMB609 billion at the end of August, and issuance of renminbi “dim-sum” bonds exceeding RMB85 billion for the first nine months of this year.

Mr Chan said Hong Kong “is able to provide the best support for Spanish and other European corporates and financial institutions to conduct renminbi businesses.”

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