SINGAPORE companies and banks have adopted the yuan in a big way over the past year, judging by data from ICBC Singapore.

The Chinese bank, which began yuan clearing services in May last year, has seen rapid growth in the use of its services.

The bank said yesterday that it has cleared a massive 10 trillion yuan ($2trillion) so far since launching its clearing services. It now clears about 300 billion yuan daily, up from just 2 billion in the early days after clearing services were launched.

In the first quarter of this year alone, the bank cleared 6.9 trillion yuan, 2.7 times more than it cleared in the whole of last year.

Having ICBC as a clearing bank in Singapore means other banks can settle their yuan transactions here rather than having to go through agent banks in mainland China or Hong Kong.

This added convenience has helped banks roll out yuan deposits, products and services while also boosting the adoption of the yuan, especially among companies doing business with Chinese counterparts.

Yuan clearing accounts have been opened by 73 local and foreign banks at ICBC, whose total assets and yuan deposits have doubled since the beginning of this year.

ICBC said it will continue to promote new yuan products and services, accelerate the delivery of yuan bank notes and further develop Singapore's yuan bond market. It is also developing an online banking service targeted at financial institutions.

In a speech at a conference on the yuan last month, Mr Leong Sing Chiong, the assistant managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore's development and international group, said total yuan deposits here stood at 200 billion yuan at the end of December last year, up 70 per cent from nine months earlier.