Most people are not predicting the Chinese yuan to surpass the Japanese yen, which is the third most important international currency, anytime soon. However, one HSBC economist is predicting that this could take place as early as 2012. By this date the belief is that as much as 50% of China's trade could be settled in yuan, which amounts to a staggering USD2 trillion.

This prediction is much sooner than expected considering China just launched a pilot program allowing settlement of trade in yuan a few days ago. The settlement allows overseas exporters and importers to settle their trade in Chinese yuan, with the aim for the currency to become a freely convertible major global currency.

The rates quoted above are interbank rates. Client rates may vary according to the volume and timing of the trade.