Interdealer broker ICAP has launched three new offshore renminbi currency spot pairs on its electronic brokerage platform, EBS.
The offshore renminbi can be traded against the euro, Hong Kong dollar and Japanese yen. The products went live on Monday, said Jeff Ward, head of ICAP electronic broking.
The minimum tradable amount for the new pairs is one million of the base currency with trade increments of one million.
All the offshore renminbi trades will settle in Hong Kong and banks looking to trade these pairs must have a pre-arranged clearing and settlement arrangement with a Hong Kong authorised institution, ICAP said in a statement.
The products can allow banks to accrue more pools of renminbi for themselves and their corporate clients from the offshore interbank market.
It will also allow institutions to speculate on the currency pairings, although the general consensus is that the renminbi will appreciate against most currencies.
Since China eased up its control over its currency the volume of renminbi settled trades in the offshore market has increased from Rmb3.6 billion (US$149.8 million) in the second half of 2009 to Rmb70.6 billion.
A crucial factor for development of the renminbi market in Hong Kong relates to the new services bank can provide their corporate customers. Regulations state that lenders can settle their positions for corporate import/export trades with a People’s Bank of China approved clearing bank.
The news comes a month after the broker launched the US dollar/Chinese renminbi pair on its platform.
As a result banks can now trade renminbi and lend and borrow the currency amongst themselves—creating an interbank market. This has caused renminbi spot foreign exchange, FX swap, and renminbi Hibor markets to surface in Hong Kong.