|This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2014)|
|人民币 (simplified Chinese)|
Renminbi banknotes of the 2005 series
|ISO 4217 code||CNY|
|Central bank||People's Bank of China|
|Official user(s)|| China
|Unofficial user(s)|| Hong Kong
Myanmar (in Kokang and Wa)
Vietnam (border area)
|Inflation||2%, October 2014|
|Pegged with||Partially, to a basket of trade-weighted international currencies|
|yuán (元,圆)||kuài (块)|
|jiǎo (角)||máo (毛)|
|Plural||The language(s) of this currency does not have a morphological plural distinction.|
|Freq. used||¥0.1, ¥0.5, ¥1|
|Rarely used||¥0.01, ¥0.02, ¥0.05|
|Freq. used||¥0.1, ¥0.2, ¥0.5, ¥1, ¥5, ¥10, ¥20, ¥50, ¥100|
|Simplified Chinese||圆 (or 元)|
|Traditional Chinese||圓 (or 元)|
The renminbi is the official currency of the People's Republic of China. The name (simplified Chinese: 人民币; traditional Chinese: 人民幣; pinyin: rénmínbì) literally means "people's currency". The yuan (Chinese: 元/圆; pinyin: yuán) (sign: ¥) is the basic unit of the renminbi, but is also used to refer to the Chinese currency generally, especially in international contexts. The distinction between the terms renminbi and yuan is similar to that between sterling and pound, which respectively refer to the British currency and its primary unit. One yuan is subdivided into 10 jiao (Chinese: 角; pinyin: jiǎo), and a jiao in turn is subdivided into 10 fen (Chinese: 分; pinyin: fēn).
The ISO code for renminbi (which may also be used for the yuan) is CNY (an abbreviation for "Chinese yuan"), or also CNH when traded in off-shore markets such as Hong Kong. The currency is often abbreviated RMB, or indicated by the yuan sign ¥. The latter may be written CN¥ to distinguish it from other currencies with the same symbol (such as the Japanese yen). In Chinese texts the currency may also be indicated with the Chinese character for the yuan, 圆 (or 元 informally). The renminbi is legal tender in mainland China, but not in Hong Kong or Macau. Renminbi is sometimes accepted in Hong Kong and Macau, and are easily exchanged in the two territories, with banks in Hong Kong allowing people to maintain accounts in RMB. The currency is issued by the People's Bank of China, the monetary authority of China.
Until 2005, the value of the renminbi was pegged to the US dollar. As China pursued its historical transition from central planning to a market economy, and increased its participation in foreign trade, the renminbi was devalued to increase the competitiveness of Chinese industry. It has previously been claimed that the renminbi's official exchange rate was undervalued by as much as 37.5% against its purchasing power parity (see below). More recently, however, appreciation actions by the Chinese government, as well as quantitative easing measures taken by the Federal Reserve and other major central banks, have caused the renminbi to be within as little as 8% of its equilibrium value by the second half of 2012. Since 2006, the renminbi exchange rate has been allowed to float in a narrow margin around a fixed base rate determined with reference to a basket of world currencies. The Chinese government has announced that it will gradually increase the flexibility of the exchange rate. As a result of the rapid internationalization of the renminbi, it became the world's 8th most traded currency in 2013, and 5th in 2015. The yuan will be included in the basket of currencies used by the IMF (reserve currency) in 2016.
- 1 History
- 2 Convertibility
- 3 Production and minting
- 4 Use in minority regions
- 5 International use
- 6 Value
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
A variety of currencies circulated in China during the Republic of China (ROC) era, most of which were denominated in the unit yuán (pronounced [jʏɛn˧˥]). Each was distinguished by a currency name, such as the fabi ("legal tender"), the "gold yuan," and the "silver yuan."
As the Communist Party of China took control of ever larger territories in the latter part of the Chinese Civil War, its People's Bank of China began in 1948 to issue a unified currency for use in Communist-controlled territories. Also denominated in yuan, this currency was identified by different names, including "People's Bank of China banknotes" (simplified Chinese: 中国人民银行钞票; traditional Chinese: 中國人民銀行鈔票; from November 1948), "New Currency" (simplified Chinese: 新币; traditional Chinese: 新幣; from December 1948), "People's Bank of China notes" (simplified Chinese: 中国人民银行券; traditional Chinese: 中國人民銀行券; from January 1949), "People's Notes" (人民券, as an abbreviation of the last name), and finally "People's Currency", or "renminbi", from June 1949.
During the era of the command economy, the value of the renminbi was set to unrealistic values in exchange with western currency and severe currency exchange rules were put in place. With the opening of the mainland Chinese economy in 1978, a dual-track currency system was instituted, with renminbi usable only domestically, and with foreigners forced to use foreign exchange certificates. The unrealistic levels at which exchange rates were pegged led to a strong black market in currency transactions.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, China worked to make the RMB more convertible. Through the use of swap centres, the exchange rate was brought to realistic levels and the dual track currency system was abolished.
As of 2013, the renminbi is convertible on current accounts but not capital accounts. The ultimate goal has been to make the RMB fully convertible. However, partly in response to the Asian financial crisis in 1998, China has been concerned that the mainland Chinese financial system would not be able to handle the potential rapid cross-border movements of hot money, and as a result, as of 2012, the currency trades within a narrow band specified by the Chinese central government.
Production and minting
Renminbi currency production is carried out by a state owned corporation, China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation (CBPMC; 中国印钞造币总公司) headquartered in Beijing. CBPMC uses several printing, engraving and minting facilities around the country to produce banknotes and coins for subsequent distribution. Banknote printing facilities are based in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Xi'an, Shijiazhuang, and Nanchang. Mints are located in Nanjing, Shanghai, and Shenyang. Also, high grade paper for the banknotes is produced at two facilities in Baoding and Kunshan. The Baoding facility is the largest facility in the world dedicated to developing banknote material according to its website. In addition, the People's Bank of China has its own printing technology research division that researches new techniques for creating banknotes and making counterfeiting more difficult.
As of 2013, renminbi banknotes are available in denominations from ¥0.1, ¥0.2, ¥0.5 (1, 2, and 5 jiao), ¥1, ¥2, ¥5, ¥10, ¥20, ¥50, and ¥100 yuan. These denominations have been available since 1955, except for the 50 and 100 yuan notes (added in 1980) and 20 yuan notes (added in or after 1999). Coins are available in denominations from 1 fen to 1 yuan (¥0.01–1). Thus some denominations exist in both coins and banknotes. On rare occasions larger yuan coin denominations such as ¥5 have been issued to commemorate events but use of these outside of collecting has never been widespread.
The denomination of each banknote is printed in Chinese. The numbers themselves are printed in financial Chinese numeral characters, as well as Arabic numerals. The denomination and the words "People's Bank of China" are also printed in Mongolian, Tibetan, Uyghur and Zhuang on the back of each banknote, in addition to the boldface Hanyu Pinyin "Zhongguo Renmin Yinhang" (without tones). The right front of the note has a tactile representation of the denomination in Chinese Braille starting from the fourth series. See corresponding section for detailed information.
The fen and jiao denominations have become increasingly unnecessary as prices have increased. Coins under ¥0.1 are used infrequently. Chinese retailers tend to avoid decimal values (such as ¥9.99), opting instead for integer values of yuan (such as ¥9 or ¥10).
On November 30, 2015, the IMF voted to designate the renminbi as one of several main world currencies, thus including it in the basket of special drawing rights. The other main world currencies are the US dollar, euro, British pound, and Japanese yen.
The currency was introduced by the People's Bank of China in December 1948, about a year before the establishment of the People's Republic of China. It was issued only in paper money form at first, and replaced the various currencies circulating in the areas controlled by the Communists. One of the first tasks of the new government was to end the hyperinflation that had plagued China in the final years of the Kuomintang (KMT) era. That achieved, a revaluation occurred in 1955 at the rate of 1 new yuan = 10,000 old yuan.
In 1953, aluminium 1-, 2-, and 5-fen coins began being struck for circulation, and were first introduced in 1955. These depict the national emblem on the obverse (front) and the name and denomination framed by wheat stocks on the reverse (back). In 1980, brass 1-, 2-, and 5-jiao and cupro-nickel 1-yuan coins were added, although the 1 and 2 jiao were only produced until 1981, with the last 5 jiao and 1 yuan issued in 1985. All jiao coins depicted similar designs to the fen coins while the yuan depicted the Great Wall of China. In 1991, a new coinage was introduced, consisting of an aluminium 1 jiao, brass 5 jiao and nickel-clad-steel 1 yuan. These were smaller than the previous jiao and yuan coins and depicted flowers on the obverse and the national emblem on the reverse. Issuance of the aluminum 1- and 2-fen coins ceased in 1991, with that of the 5 fen halting in 1994. The small coins were still made for annual uncirculated mint sets in limited quantities, and from the beginning of 2005 the 1-fen coin got a new lease on life by being issued again every year since then up to present. New designs of the 1 and 5 jiao and 1 yuan were again introduced in between 1999 and 2002, with the 1 jiao being significantly reduced in size. In 2005, the metallic composition of the 1 jiao was changed from aluminum to more durable nickel-plated steel. The frequency of usage of coins varies between different parts of China, with coins typically being more popular in urban areas, and small notes being more popular in rural areas. Older fen and large jiao coins are uncommonly still seen in circulation but are still valid in exchange.
As of 2016, there have been five series of renminbi banknotes issued by the People's Republic of China:
- The first series of renminbi banknotes was issued on December 1, 1948, by the newly founded People's Bank of China. It introduced notes in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 1000 yuan. Notes for 200, 500, 5000 and 10,000 yuan followed in 1949, with 50,000 yuan notes added in 1950. A total of 62 different designs were issued. The notes were officially withdrawn on various dates between April 1 and May 10, 1955. The name "first series" was given retroactively in 1950, after work began to design a new series.
- These first renminbi notes were printed with the words "People's Bank of China", "Republic of China", and the denomination, written in Chinese characters by Dong Biwu.
- The second series of renminbi banknotes was introduced on 1 March 1955 (but dated 1953). Each note has the words "People's Bank of China" as well as the denomination in the Uyghur, Tibetan, Mongolian and Zhuang languages on the back, which has since appeared in each series of renminbi notes. The denominations available in banknotes were ¥0.01, ¥0.02, ¥0.05, ¥0.1, ¥0.2, ¥0.5, ¥1, ¥2, ¥3, ¥5 and ¥10. Except for the three fen denominations and the 3 yuan which were withdrawn, notes in these denominations continued to circulate. Good examples of this series have gained high status with banknote collectors.
- The third series was introduced on April 15, 1962, though many denominations were dated 1960. New dates would be issued as stocks of older dates were gradually depleted. The sizes and design layout of the notes had changed but not the order of colors for each denomination. For the next two decades, the second and third series banknotes were used concurrently. The denominations were of ¥0.1, ¥0.2, ¥0.5, ¥1, ¥2, ¥5 and ¥10. The third series was phased out during the 1990s and then was recalled completely on July 1, 2000.
- The fourth series was introduced between 1987 and 1997, although the banknotes were dated 1980, 1990, or 1996. They are still legal tender. Banknotes are available in denominations of ¥0.1, ¥0.2, ¥0.5, ¥1, ¥2, ¥5, ¥10, ¥50 and ¥100. Like previous issues, the color designation for already existing denominations remained in effect.
- The fifth series of renminbi banknotes and coins was progressively introduced from 1999. This series also bears the years 2005 (all except ¥1) and 2015 (¥100 only). As of 2016, it includes banknotes for ¥1, ¥5, ¥10, ¥20, ¥50 and ¥100. Significantly, the fifth series uses the portrait of Mao Zedong on all banknotes, in place of the various leaders and workers which had been featured previously. During this series new security features were added, the ¥2 denomination was discontinued, and the color pattern for each note was changed.
Commemorative issues of the renminbi
In 1999, a commemorative red ¥50 note was issued in honor of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the People's Republic of China. This note features Mao Zedong on the front and various animals on the back.
An orange polymer note, and so far, China's only polymer note, commemorating the new millennium was issued in 2000 with a face value of ¥100. This features a dragon on the obverse and the reverse features the China Millennium monument (at the Center for Cultural and Scientific Fairs).
Suggested future design
On March 13, 2006, some delegates to an advisory body at the National People's Congress proposed to include Sun Yat-sen and Deng Xiaoping on the renminbi banknotes. However, the proposal was not adopted.
Use in minority regions
The renminbi yuan has different names when used in minority regions.
- When used in Inner Mongolia and other Mongol autonomies, a yuan is called a tugreg (Mongolian: ᠲᠦᠭᠦᠷᠢᠭ᠌ tügürig). However, when used in the republic of Mongolia, it is still named yuani (Mongolian: юань) to differentiate it from Mongolian tögrög (Mongolian: төгрөг). One Chinese tügürig (tugreg) is divided into 100 mönggü (Mongolian: ᠮᠥᠩᠭᠦ), one Chinese jiao is labeled "10 mönggü". In Mongolian, renminbi is called aradin jogos or arad-un jogos (Mongolian: ᠠᠷᠠᠳ ᠤᠨ ᠵᠣᠭᠣᠰ arad-un ǰoγos).
- When used in Tibet and other Tibetan autonomies, a yuan is called a gor (Tibetan: སྒོར་, ZYPY: Gor). One gor is divided into 10 gorsur (Tibetan: སྒོར་ཟུར་, ZYPY: Gorsur) or 100 gar (Tibetan: སྐར་, ZYPY: gar). In Tibetan, renminbi is called mimangxogngü (Tibetan: མི་དམངས་ཤོག་དངུལ།, ZYPY: Mimang Xogngü) or mimang shog dngul.
|Internationalization of the Renminbi|
Before 2009, the Chinese renminbi had little to no exposure in the international markets because of strict government controls by the central Chinese government that prohibited almost all export of the currency, or use of it in international transactions. Transactions between Chinese companies and a foreign entity were generally denominated in US dollars. With Chinese companies unable to hold US dollars and foreign companies unable to hold Chinese yuan, all transactions would go through the People's Bank of China. Once the sum was paid by the foreign party in dollars, the central bank would pass the settlement in renminbi to the Chinese company at the state-controlled exchange rate.
In June 2009 the Chinese officials announced a pilot scheme where business and trade transactions were allowed between limited businesses in Guangdong province and Shanghai, and only counterparties in Hong Kong, Macau, and select ASEAN nations. Proving a success, the program was further extended to 20 Chinese provinces and counterparties internationally in July 2010, and in September 2011 it was announced that the remaining 11 Chinese provinces would be included.
In steps intended to establish the renminbi as an international reserve currency, China has agreements with Russia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Japan, allowing trade with those countries to be settled directly in renminbi instead of requiring conversion to US dollars, with Australia and South Africa to follow soon.
International reserve currency
Currency restrictions regarding renminbi denominated bank deposits and financial products were greatly liberalized in July 2010. In 2010 renminbi denominated bonds were reported to have been purchased by Malaysia's central bank and that McDonald's had issued renminbi denominated corporate bonds through Standard Chartered Bank of Hong Kong. Such liberalization allows the yuan to look more attractive as it can be held with higher return on investment yields, whereas previously that yield was virtually none. Nevertheless, some national banks such as Bank of Thailand (BOT) have expressed a serious concern about RMB since BOT cannot substitute the deprecated US dollars in its US$200 billion foreign exchange reserves for renminbi as much as it wishes because:
- The Chinese government has not taken full responsibilities and commitments on economic affairs at global levels.
- Renminbi still has not become well-liquidated (fully convertible) yet.
- The Chinese government still lacks deep and wide vision about how to perform fund-raising to handle international loans at global levels.
To meet IMF requirements, China gave up some of its tight control over the currency.
Countries that are left-leaning in the political spectrum had aleady begun to use the renminbi as an alternative reserve currency to the United States dollar; the Central Bank of Chile reported in 2011 to have US$91 million worth of renminbi in reserves, and the president of the Central Bank of Venezuela, Nelson Merentes, made statements in favour of the renminbi following the announcement of reserve withdrawals from Europe and the United States.
Use as a currency outside mainland China
The two special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macau, have their own respective currencies, according to the "one country, two systems" principle and the basic laws of the two territories. Therefore, the Hong Kong dollar and the Macanese pataca remain the legal tenders in the two territories, and renminbi, although sometimes accepted, is not legal tender. Banks in Hong Kong allow people to maintain accounts in RMB. Because of changes in legislation in July 2010, many banks around the world are now slowly offering individuals the chance to hold deposits in Chinese renminbi.
The RMB had a presence in Macau even before the 1999 return to the People's Republic of China from Portugal. Banks in Macau can issue credit cards based on the renminbi, but not loans. Renminbi-based credit cards cannot be used in Macau's casinos.
The Republic of China, which governs Taiwan, believes wide usage of the renminbi would create an underground economy and undermine its sovereignty. Tourists are allowed to bring in up to ¥20,000 when visiting Taiwan. These renminbi must be converted to the New Taiwan dollar at trial exchange sites in Matsu and Kinmen. The Chen Shui-bian administration insisted that it would not allow full convertibility until the mainland signs a bilateral foreign exchange settlement agreement, though president Ma Ying-jeou has pledged to allow full convertibility as soon as possible.
The renminbi circulates in some of China's neighbors, such as Pakistan, Mongolia and northern Thailand. Cambodia welcomes the renminbi as an official currency and Laos and Myanmar allow it in border provinces. Though unofficial,[clarification needed] Vietnam recognizes the exchange of the renminbi to the đồng.
Since 2007, RMB-nominated bonds are issued outside mainland China; these are colloquially called "dim sum bonds". In April 2011, the first Initial Public Offering denominated in renminbi occurred in Hong Kong, when the Chinese property investment trust Hui Xian raised ¥10.48 billion ($1.6 billion) in its IPO. Beijing has allowed renminbi-denominated financial markets to develop in Hong Kong as part of the effort to internationalise the renminbi.
Since currency flows in and out of mainland China are still restricted, RMB traded in off-shore markets (known as CNH), such as the Hong Kong market, can have a different value to RMB traded on the mainland. Other RMB markets include the dollar-settled non-deliverable forward (NDF) and the trade-settlement exchange rate (CNT).
For most of its early history, the RMB was pegged to the U.S. dollar at ¥2.46 per USD (note: during the 1970s, it was revalued until it reached ¥1.50 per USD in 1980). When China's economy gradually opened in the 1980s, the RMB was devalued in order to improve the competitiveness of Chinese exports. Thus, the official USD to RMB exchange rate declined from ¥1.50 in 1980 to ¥8.62 by 1994 (the lowest rate on record). Improving current account balance during the latter half of the 1990s enabled the Chinese government to maintain a peg of ¥8.27 per USD from 1997 to 2005.
The RMB reached a record high exchange value of ¥6.0395 to the U.S. dollar on 14 January 2014. Chinese leadership have been raising the yuan to tame inflation, a step U.S. officials have pushed for years to help repair the massive trade deficit with China.
In 2015 the Chinese Central Bank again devalued their country's currency. As of 1 September 2015, the exchange rate for 1 USD is ¥6.37.
Depegged from the U.S. dollar
However the peg was reinstituted unofficially when the financial crisis hit: "Under intense pressure from Washington, China took small steps to allow its currency to strengthen for three years starting in July 2005. But China 're-pegged' its currency to the dollar as the financial crisis intensified in July 2008."
On June 19, 2010, the People’s Bank of China released a statement simultaneously in Chinese and English indicating that they would "proceed further with reform of the RMB exchange rate regime and increase the RMB exchange rate flexibility." The news was greeted with praise by world leaders including Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy and Stephen Harper. The PBoC maintained there would be no "large swings" in the currency. The RMB rose to its highest level in five years and markets worldwide surged on Monday, June 21 following China's announcement.
In August 2015, Joseph Adinolfi, a reporter for MarketWatch, reported that China had re-pegged the RMB. In his article, he narrated that "Weak trade data out of China, released over the weekend, weighed on the currencies of Australia and New Zealand on Monday. But the yuan didn’t budge. Indeed, the Chinese currency, also known as the renminbi, has been remarkably steady over the past month despite the huge selloff in China’s stock market and a spate of disappointing economic data. Market strategists, including Simon Derrick, chief currency strategist at BNY Mellon, and Marc Chandler, head currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman, said that’s because China’s policy makers have effectively re-pegged the yuan. “When I look at the dollar-renminbi right now, that looks like a fixed exchange rate again. They’ve re-pegged it,” Chandler said."
China has shifted some of its reserves from U.S. dollar accounts to accounts in its competitor nations, leading these other nations to invest in dollars to keep their own currencies down.
The RMB has now moved to a managed floating exchange rate based on market supply and demand with reference to a basket of foreign currencies. In July 2005, the daily trading price of the U.S. dollar against the RMB in the inter-bank foreign exchange market was allowed to float within a narrow band of 0.3% around the central parity  published by the People's Bank of China; in a later announcement published on May 18, 2007, the band was extended to 0.5%. On April 14, 2012, the band was extended to 1.0%. On March 17, 2014, the band was extended to 2%. China has stated that the basket is dominated by the United States dollar, euro, Japanese yen and South Korean won, with a smaller proportion made up of the British pound, Thai baht, Russian ruble, Australian dollar, Canadian dollar and Singapore dollar.
On April 10, 2008, it traded at ¥6.9920 per US dollar, which was the first time in more than a decade that a dollar had bought less than seven yuan, and at 11.03630 yuan per euro.
Beginning in January 2010, Chinese and non-Chinese citizens have an annual exchange limit of a maximum of US$50,000. Exchange will only proceed if the applicant appears in person at the relevant bank and presents his passport or his Chinese ID; these deals are being centrally registered. The maximum dollar withdrawal is $10,000 per day, the maximum purchase limit of USD is $500 per day. This stringent management of the currency leads to a bottled-up demand for exchange in both directions. It is viewed as a major tool to keep the currency peg, preventing inflows of 'hot money'.
A shift of Chinese reserves into the currencies of their other trading partners has caused these nations to shift more of their reserves into dollars, leading to no great change in the value of the renminbi against the dollar.
Purchasing power parity
|This section is outdated. (October 2013)|
- The World Bank estimated that, by purchasing power parity, one International dollar was equivalent to approximately ¥1.9 in 2004.
- The International Monetary Fund estimated that, by purchasing power parity, one International dollar was equivalent to approximately ¥3.462 in 2006, ¥3.621 in 2007, ¥3.798 in 2008, ¥3.872 in 2009, ¥3.922 in 2010, ¥3.946 in 2011, ¥3.952 in 2012, ¥3.944 in 2013 and ¥3.937 in 2014.
The People’s Bank of China lowered the renminbi’s daily fix to the US dollar by 1.9 per cent to ¥6.2298 on August 11, 2015.
|Current CNY exchange rates|
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- China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation (CBPMC)
- Chinese lunar coins
- Economy of China
- List of renminbi exchange rates
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