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Gulf to use more Chinese Yuan – HSBC


One step was taken in January last year when the central banks of China and the United Arab Emirates signed an agreement allowing them to swap 35 billion yuan.


April 9, 2013 10:31 by


Annual trade between China and the UAE has expanded sixteenfold since 2002 to $40.4 billion, according to Chinese official data.

Last year there were initial signs that the Gulf’s interest in the yuan was moving beyond trade to fund-raising and investment; in March 2012 Emirates NBD, Dubai’s biggest bank, issued the first yuan bond from the region.

Wong predicted an increasing flow of “dim sum bonds” in coming years, and said Dubai had the potential in the long term to become the Middle East’s centre for yuan business.

One step was taken in January last year when the central banks of China and the United Arab Emirates signed an agreement allowing them to swap 35 billion yuan ($5.6 billion). The swap facility does not appear to have been used so far, bankers said, but will ensure liquidity if demand for the yuan rises.

A key step would be any decision by China to appoint banks to clear yuan trades in Dubai, as it has done for Taiwan and Singapore in the last few months.

“Certainly the Middle East is a big enough region for it to operate its own clearing centre,” Wong said. But she added this would depend on factors such as the stance of UAE authorities and competition fromLondon, a top global foreign exchange centre, and there was no sign of this status being accorded now.

Even without clearing status, however, other innovations may spur yuan trade in Dubai. The Chinese central bank has said it will launch this year or next the China International Payment System, a facility to make yuan clearance more efficient for centres which lack their own clearing banks.

The new system would link Chinese and overseas banks, remaining open for most of the global day.

“We see great potential for further growth” in use of the yuan in the UAE, Zheng Yang, a senior official in the Chinese central bank’s Shanghai branch, told HSBC clients in a presentation on Monday. He was visiting the UAE for talks with officials and bankers.

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