HONG KONG China's yuan currency overtook the euro in October, becoming the second-most used currency in trade finance, global transaction services organization SWIFT said on Tuesday.
The market share of yuan usage in trade finance, or Letters of Credit and Collection, grew to 8.66 percent in October 2013. That improved from 1.89 percent in January 2012.
The yuan, also known as the renminbi, now ranks behind the U.S. dollar, which remains the leading currency with a share of 81.08 percent.
The top five countries using the yuan for trade finance in October were China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany and Australia, SWIFT said in a statement.
"The RMB is clearly a top currency for trade finance globally and even more so in Asia," Franck de Praetere, SWIFT's Asia Pacific head of payments and trade markets said.
The RMB remained the 12th payments currency of the world, with a slightly decreased share of 0.84 percent compared with 0.86 percent in September.
RMB payments increased in value by 1.5 percent in October, while growth for all payments currencies was at 4.6 percent.
The world's second-largest economy is accelerating the pace of financial reform to promote its currency to international players beyond Hong Kong. China aims to lift the yuan's global clout and reduce its reliance on the U.S. dollar.
Yuan trade settlement has expanded quickly since it first began in 2009 and the percentage of China's total trade settled in yuan has risen from 12 percent in 2012 to nearly 20 percent.
(Reporting by Michelle Chen; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)