Swiss Inch Towards Renminbi Hub Dream

by swisscham in Business

News that Switzerland’s central bank recently opened talks with its Chinese counterpart to swap currencies has raised Swiss hopes of attaining a renminbi (RMB) hub status. But Switzerland is playing catch-up with rivals that share the same ambition. As global RMB transactions gather pace, a tantalizing vision has emerged of a new international reserve currency competing with the dollar, euro and British pound. Financial centres are jostling to enjoy the prestige and profits of becoming RMB conduits. In December 2012, the Swiss government officially announced its intention of becoming a RMB hub, joining the likes of Britain, Canada, Germany and France in trying to woo Beijing. The signing of FTA with China earlier this year might give Switzerland a boost, according to Felix Sutter, head of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Asia business group in Switzerland. But knowing how to win a RMB hub mandate from Beijing is hard to predict. “China has always preferred bilateral negotiations, that are not always completely transparent, to pick RMB partners,” Sutter told swissinfo.ch. “Each country, at a specific time and under specific circumstances, has its own appeal.” In addition to making sure the FTA runs smoothly, Switzerland might make itself more appealing by granting more visas for Chinese investors, Sutter suggested.

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