Standard Chartered Opens Its First Onshore Chinese Yuan (RMB) Account For South Africa's Portland Steel

Johannesburg, 23 May 2011

Standard Chartered, the international bank with a unique footprint across Africa, Asia and the Middle East, has opened their first onshore 'RMB' (Renminbi/Chinese Yuan) trading account in Africa for leading South African metals trader, Portland Steel. Given that trade between Africa and China exceeded $110 billion in 2010, up from $91billion in 2009, Standard Chartered's ability to offer onshore Chinese Yuan accounts to African corporates will give these companies the edge they need to facilitate fast and effective trade relations with Chinese suppliers, buyers and related global customers.

Roy Grayman, Portland Steel's joint CEO commented, "China is an increasingly influential trading partner for us, and the ability to exchange funds with both buyers and suppliers via an onshore RMB account will underpin successful trade relations. Opening a Chinese currency ('RMB') account with Standard Chartered has given us a competitive advantage, effectively enabling us to quote, sell and settle in 'RMB'. Immediate access to 'RMB' also increases our operational efficiencies by mitigating foreign exchange risks and reducing trade settlement costs associated with converting payments and settlements into USD."

Offering onshore 'RMB' or Renminbi (Chinese currency) accounts to African corporates is in line with the Bank's international ambition to lead the way in the development of China's currency market. One year after the Bank's landmark role in the first domestic RMB cross-border trade settlement transaction outside of China, Standard Chartered has been first in facilitating trade settled in 'RMB' (Renminbi) across various markets as well as innovation on 'RMB'-denominated investment products - some milestone transactions include:

  • Korea: 'Standard Chartered First Bank' was the first bank to facilitate a cross-border RMB trade settlement between Korea and China.
  • Middle East: Standard Chartered was the first foreign bank to open an RMB nostro account for Islamic bank, Alinma Bank Saudi Arabia - one of the region's largest banks. The Bank has since been mandated to open RMB nostro accounts for another 16 banks in the region.
  • Hong Kong: Standard Chartered led the industry's first ever RMB bond issuance for American fast food giant, McDonald's, in August 2010. This was followed by a number of other notable RMB bond deals, including China Power, Agricultural Bank of China and China Development Bank. Standard Chartered Hong Kong also led this year's first offshore Chinese Yuan bond issue for 'Bank of Communication', valued at RMB1 billion.
  • China / Hong Kong: Standard Chartered is the first international bank to facilitate two-way RMB denominated trade between Hong Kong & China.

Derick de Zilva, Head of Transaction Banking Southern Africa, said, "Corporate treasurers today have additional choice and flexibility, thanks to the growth of the offshore RMB market, which include having RMB as part of a multi-currency pool in locations outside of China. These structures provide significant benefits, including reducing overdraft costs, addressing restrictions in convertibility and transferability, together with overcoming liquidity needs without entering into FX contract or a swap.

Peter Sun, Regional Head of Transaction Banking Africa commented, "To date, we have opened RMB bank accounts for bank clients from 39 countries globally, further promoting the development of the RMB trade settlement scheme. With the momentum in RMB trade on March 19, 2010, Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) completed the first domestic RMB trade settlement transaction outside Mainland China. The transaction, which involved a paper manufacturing company, allowed the client to significantly reduce foreign exchange risks and trade settlement costs settlement rapidly evolving, corporates outside of China with liquidity can now optimise their positions via Standard Chartered's liquidity management solutions. With multicurrency notional pooling, corporate treasurers are now able to manage their cash pools of multiple currencies alongside their offshore RMB holdings. Similar to our partnership with Portland Steel, we look forward to assisting many more African multinationals in increasing their competitiveness and enhancing their operational efficiencies when trading with China."

As the offshore 'RMB' market continues to develop, corporates stand to benefit from the introduction of other offshore 'RMB' financial products (eg. options; swaps; equity and funds) as a means of maximising returns on their RMB equity. Standard Chartered remains updated on regulatory developments, offering advice and capabilities to meet clients' needs.

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For further information please contact:

Roy Grayman - Joint CEO
Tel: +27 (0)11 380 8000 / Mobile: +27 (0)82 445 1938 / Email:

Lauren Callie - Head of Corporate Affairs, South Africa
Email: - Mobile: +27 (0)82 894 5581



We provide a world class end-to-end service, supplying both flat and long products, our main products are:

  • Stainless steel
  • Carbon steel
  • Aluminium
  • Mig Welding Wire

For more information click on or call +27 (0)11 380 8000.

Standard Chartered - leading the way in Asia, Africa and the Middle East

How do corporates benefit from opening an onshore account in RMB (Renminbi / Chinese currency)?

  • Simpler process for settling in RMB vs. USD.
  • No need to suspend funds in the "Export Funds Verification" account.
  • Fewer documents without the need of the HeXiao sheet.
  • Reduced turnaround time for claiming tax rebates.

Standard Chartered PLC is a leading international bank, listed on the London, Hong Kong and Mumbai stock exchanges. It has operated for over 150 years in some of the world's most dynamic markets and earns more than 90 per cent of its income and profits in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. This geographic focus and commitment to developing deep relationships with clients and customers has driven the Bank's growth in recent years.

With 1,700 offices in 70 markets, Standard Chartered offers exciting and challenging international career opportunities for around 85,000 staff. It is committed to building a sustainable business over the long term and is trusted worldwide for upholding high standards of corporate governance, social responsibility, environmental protection and employee diversity. The Bank's heritage and values are expressed in its brand promise, 'Here for good'.

Standard Chartered in China

  • Standard Chartered has the longest history of any bank in China, with an unbroken history since establishing its first branch in Shanghai in 1858.
  • Standard Chartered has one of the largest foreign bank networks in China, being present in 17 cities countrywide.
  • The Bank has over 5,000 staff in China.
  • The Bank is one of the first 4 foreign banks that had locally incorporated its business in April, 2007.

Standard Chartered Africa - Standard Chartered has operated in Africa for over 147 years and the region remains a core part of the Bank's Group Strategic Intent. Standard Chartered Bank has over 160 branches in 14 African countries and over 6,000 staff. Standard Chartered Africa is a highly respected, well established "household name", with deep-rooted local knowledge and experience. The Bank also has a unique international footprint which enables it to facilitate the growth of international trade corridors between Africa and the rest of the world. And with world-class suites of products, services, distribution channels and systems, the Bank provides customers with increasingly sophisticated and pioneering banking services - unrivalled in Africa.

Standard Chartered in South Africa - The Bank's history in South Africa dates back to 1862 from a previous shareholding in Standard Bank of British South Africa. Having divested in 1987, the Bank returned to the country as a representative office, before acquiring a full service banking licence in July 2003. Today, Standard Chartered South Africa is focused on its successful Wholesale (Corporate) Banking strategy, leveraging the Bank's international footprint and expertise to offer SA corporates and multinationals unparalleled support in cross-border capital, investment opportunities, assistance with expansion into new markets and facilitation of strategic partnerships. In addition to the Bank's lending and financial markets capabilities, the Johannesburg Branch offering expands regionally to include Agricultural Finance, Project & Export Finance (Infrastructure, Metals & Mining, Telecoms etc), Private Equity, Transaction Banking and Capital Markets.

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