Recent SWIFT data shows that the number of South Africa’s Renminbi (RMB) payments increased by 33% over the last 12 months and by 191% over the last two years.

In June 2015, 31,3% of direct payments value between South Africa and China/Hong Kong were in RMB versus 10,8% in June 2014 and only 4,6% in June 2013.

In addition to direct flows between South Africa and Greater China, SWIFT data shows that nearly 70% of the number of payments between the latter is still intermediated by the US, mainly in USD.

“The rise of RMB usage in South Africa is another good indicator of the cross border use of the currency,” says Hugo Smit, head of Africa South at SWIFT. “Much of this growth has to do with the strengthened bi-lateral relations between South Africa and China, which were renewed at the end of 2014 to include trade co-operation and sustainable investment opportunities between the two countries. As a result of this effort, RMB usage in South Africa should continue to grow at a good rate.”

In June 2015, the RMB held its position as the fifth most active currency for global payments in value and accounted for 2,09% of global payments, a slight decrease from 2,18% in May 2015. Overall, RMB payments increased in value by 9,26% in June 2015, whilst growth for all payments currencies was at 14,46%