The People’s Bank of China, or PBoC, has begun including the country’s central bank digital currency, the e-CNY, in reports measuring the amount of currency in circulation.
According to a 2022 financial statistics report released on Jan. 10, the PBoC said there was 13.61 billion digital yuan — roughly $2 billion at the time of publication — in circulation as of Dec. 31. The currency in circulation grew at a rate of 15.3% in December 2022, with the broad money supply reported to be 266.43 trillion yuan.
The PBoC reported adding the digital yuan to its figures had not caused “notable changes” to growth rates. The 13.61 billion e-CNY represented roughly 0.13% of the 10.47 trillion yuan in circulation at the end of 2022.
China, the world’s second largest economy, was one of the first to begin trialing a CBDC in select cities and regions — a project that was eventually made available to visiting foreign athletes at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in February. However, usage of the digital currently has been low, according to a former PBoC research director. Transactions totaled roughly $14 billion as of October 2022 since the e-CNY was introduced in April 2020.
The central bank announced In September 2022 it planned to expand the deployment of the e-CNY to the provinces of Guangdong, Jiangsu, Hebei and Sichuan “at a proper time.” However, neither the PBoC nor Chinese government officials have introduced a strategy for rolling out the CBDC to the entirety of China’s 1.4 billion residents.