Banks back switch to renminbi for trade
Hong Kong, China (FT) -- A number of the world's biggest banks have launched international roadshows promoting the use of the renminbi to corporate customers instead of the dollar for trade deals with China.
HSBC, which recently moved its chief executive from London to Hong Kong, and Standard Chartered, are offering discounted transaction fees and other financial incentives to companies that choose to settle trade in the Chinese currency.
"We're now capable of doing renminbi settlement in many parts of the world," said Chris Lewis, HSBC's head of trade for greater China. "All the other major international banks are frantically trying to do the same thing."
HSBC and StanChart are among a slew of global banks -- including Citigroup and JPMorgan -- holding roadshows across Asia, Europe and the US to promote the renminbi to companies.
The move aligns the banks favourably with Beijing's policy priorities and positions them to profit from what is expected to be a rapidly growing line of business in the future.
The phenomenon will accelerate Beijing's drive to transform the renminbi from a domestic currency into a global medium of exchange like the dollar and euro.
Chinese central bank officials accompanied StanChart bankers on a roadshow to Korea and Japan in June. The bank held similar events in London, Frankfurt and Paris.
Lisa Robins, JPMorgan's head of treasury and securities services for China, said there had been a "spike in interest" from international clients.
An increasing number of Chinese companies have been asking foreign trading partners to accept renminbi as payment, said Carmen Ling, Hong Kong head of global transaction services at Citi.
BBVA, Spain's second-biggest bank, is also drawing up plans for a global marketing campaign that will focus on Latin American companies that export to China.
Banks started establishing renminbi trade settlement operations in mid-2009, when Beijing introduced a pilot scheme allowing companies to use the renminbi for trade outside China.
The scramble has intensified in recent months as Beijing has substantially expanded the scheme -- from a handful of Asian countries to the whole world -- and introduced other liberalisations to its currency regime.
Cross-border trade in renminbi totalled Rmb70.6bn ($10bn) in the first half of the year -- about 20 times the Rmb3.6bn recorded in the second half of 2009.
But those figures remain tiny compared to the $2,800bn worth of goods and services that were traded across China's borders last year, most of which was settled in dollars or euros.
With renminbi trade settlement volumes expected to increase rapidly, banks are under pressure to establish a foothold in the nascent market and demonstrate to Chinese officials that they are committed to the scheme.
China has taken several steps in recent months to boost the international use of its currency and to establish Hong Kong, the special administrative region, as the global centre for offshore renminbi business.
McDonald's, the US burger chain and icon of globalisation, took advantage of the new rules this month when it became the first foreign multinational to issue renminbi-denominated bonds in Hong Kong.
A jest co ukrywać zresztą nie tylko w z powodu nietrafionych inwestycji ukrytych w pozabilansowych funduszach inwestujących w projekty infrastrukturalne (w Chinach główny cel SIV), ale również z powodu bańki na rynku nieruchomości. Jak wiele jest pustych mieszkań kupionych z dwóch powodów (o tym później), wiedzą sami Chińczycy, gdzie przewiduje się (na np. podstawie zerowych rachunków za prąd) iż od 30 do 50% mieszkań jest kompletnie nie zamieszkałych (jedna z paru wiadomości w tym obszarze) Beijing District Releases Official Housing Vacancy Rates
Citigroup Inc, HSBC Holdings Plc, Standard Chartered Plc and CIMB Group Holdings Bhd. plan to apply to invest in yuan bonds following the People’s Bank of China decision to open up its interbank debt market.
Andrew Au, chief executive officer of Citigroup’s Chinese unit, said the bank is working on the documents required for units outside China to invest in the market. John Thang, Standard Chartered’s head of financial market sales in Northeast Asia, said the bank’s Hong Kong branch will submit an application “soon.” HSBC is studying application procedures, it said in an e-mail. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority said it is investigating details of the program.
Overseas demand for the yuan has grown since China ended the yuan’s two-year dollar peg on June 19, giving scope for appreciation in the currency of a nation that surpassed Japan as the world’s second-largest economy last quarter. The PBOC said on Aug. 17 it would let overseas financial institutions invest yuan holdings in the nation’s interbank bond market to promote greater use of the yuan in global trade and finance.
“There will be a level of interest on the part of central banks and foreign participants,” Shanghai-based Au said in a phone interview yesterday. “China is already the world’s second-largest economy based on government data in the second quarter. It would be logical for a lot of international players to be interested.”
The People’s Bank of China’s didn’t reply to a fax from Bloomberg seeking more details on the licensing procedures and the banks that have submitted applications.
China approved use of the yuan to settle cross-border trade with Hong Kong in June 2009, part of a drive to reduce reliance on the U.S. dollar. The popularity of that program was limited by the lack of investments available in the currency. Trade settlement using the yuan more than doubled to 48.7 billion yuan ($7.2 billion) in the second quarter from the previous three months, bringing the total amount in the past year to 70.6 billion yuan, the PBOC said on Aug. 5.
Using local currencies to settle regional trades “is almost a necessary condition for Asian countries to better channel and invest their massive amounts of savings,” said Lee Kok Kwan, deputy chief executive at Kuala Lumpur-based CIMB, Malaysia’s second-largest banking group. He said the bank intends to apply for a license and has sought more information about obtaining access to China’s bond market.
Citigroup’s Au said the amount of settlements using the yuan will expand after China provides overseas investors with more channels to invest in yuan funds. He said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if the yuan became one of the three major currencies in the global monetary system.
Yuan deposits in Hong Kong climbed 4.8 percent in June to a record 89.7 billion yuan, according to data released by the HKMA on July 30.
“The HKMA welcomes the scheme that allows central banks and monetary authorities to invest in the mainland’s interbank market and we are following up with the PBOC on the scheme details,” the HKMA said in an e-mail to Bloomberg on Aug. 20.
Bank Negara Malaysia, which in 2009 won a QFII, or qualified foreign institutional investor, license to invest in Chinese stocks and bonds, declined to comment on whether it intends to apply to invest in yuan bonds.
Citigroup and Credit Agricole CIB said on Aug. 18 that China opening up its bond market to foreign banks would enhance the currency’s potential as a foreign-exchange reserve asset.
Overseas banks and central banks must first apply for investment quotas on the interbank market, the People’s Bank said on Aug. 17. Foreign institutions should also disclose funding sources and investing plans, it said.Citigroup wouldn’t disclose how large a quota of yuan bonds it intends to apply for. HSBC said it hadn’t decided on the amount yet. Standard Chartered said it is “hard to estimate” the quota it would apply for before further communication with China’s monetary authority on the rules
Powody bańki są prozaiczne: powody czysto spekulacyjne, ale również ochrona kapitału bogatych osób przed inflacją (kupowanie środków trwałych, ucieczka od "papierowej waluty") ale również płytkość rynków finansowych Chin. Chiny nie posiadają bowiem tak rozwiniętych rynków np. długu (obligacji, czy kredytów) jak US stąd Chińczycy nie mają gdzie "upakować" świeżo wydrukowanych Pieniędzy Ludu (renminbi). Co zatem? Nieruchomości i złoto. Chiny starają się przy tym, powolutku, dywersyfikować swoje rezerwy i uciekają od dolara na szereg wskazanych powyżej sposobów jak handel we własnej walucie, ale również poprzez zakup obligacji innych krajów jak Południowa Korea czy Japonia. Nota bene to jest jeden z większych powodów dla których ceny obligacji rosną (czyli tzw rentowność, oprocentowanie spada np Japonii poniżej 1% na 10 letnich obligacjach rządowych). Świat bowiem cierpi na NADMIAR, tak nadmiar, kapitału. Ale o tym kiedy indziej......Chaoyang District's housing vacancy figures are the first of its kind to be issued in China, amid growing fears of a property bubble
Beijing's largest district Chaoyang has issued figures showing that a total of 1.33 million square meters of residential space are vacant. Over half of the space has been empty for at least three years.
Among the empty residences, villas and luxury apartments totaled 521,000 square meters, accounting for 39.2 percent of the total and 54.9 percent of homes have remained empty for over three years. Ordinary flats accounted for 18 percent of the empty residential space, according to the report.
But the report failed to make the distinction between unsold housing or the commonly believed unoccupied housing after sales.
With rising fears of an emerging property bubble, market concerns over the housing vacancy rate across China have deepened. However, little official data has been released. The Chaoyang District housing vacancy report is the first of its kind.
According to earlier media reports, 64.5 million urban electricity meters registered zero consumption over a recent, six-month period. But the figures were denied by power companies.
Andy Xie, board member of Rosetta Stone Advisors, said that the huge quantity of empty flats represents speculation in current home purchases. Under normal market conditions, the vacancy rate should be equal to the number of households relocating, times the average transition period, plus newly formed households times the average purchase period, said Xie.
Xie estimated that the vacancy rate for the China's private, commercial housing stock is between 25 and 30 percent, at least double compared to normal market conditions. Xie said the value of the inventory held by speculators probably accounts for around 15 percent of GDP.
According to the Chaoyang district report, from January to July, property investment in the district reached 44.63 billion yuan, up 17 percent year on year. During that period, commercial housing sales totaled 1.45 million square meters, down 57.4 percent year on year.