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Hong Kong's Latest Foreign Currency Assets Figures Released

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced that the official foreign currency assets of Hong Kong, including those held in the Land Fund, were US$92.8 billion at the end of December 1997. At the end of November, the total size of the foreign currency assets was US$96.5 billion. In terms of foreign currency reserves ranking, Hong Kong remains the third largest in the world, after Japan and Mainland China (Table 1).

As at the end of December, the foreign currency assets held in the Exchange Fund were US$75.3 billion (end-November: US$79.1 billion) and in the Land Fund were US$17.5 billion (end-November: US$17.4 billion). The total foreign currency assets of US$92.8 billion represent about 10 times the currency in circulation or about 45% of Hong Kong dollar M3; one of the highest in the world.

The fall in foreign currency assets in December can be attributed to the decline of Hong Kong dollar interest rates in December. Short-term capital attracted to the Hong Kong dollar by high interest rates in November reversed in December, bringing reserves to the level comparable to that at the end of October (Tables 2 and 3).

"Monthly figures of the foreign currency assets are likely to show short-term variations due to seasonal and interest rate fluctuation," said an HKMA spokesman.

Including outstanding forward transactions, the foreign currency assets held in the Exchange Fund and the Land Fund were US$75.6 billion (end-November: US$79.5 billion) and US$17.6 billion (end-November: US$17.4 billion) respectively (Tables 4 and 5).

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

22 January 1998

 

TABLE 1

Foreign Exchange Reserves Ranking
    US$BNAs at end of
(1) Japan 220.8 December 97
(2) China 139.9 December 97
(3) Hong Kong 92.8* December 97
(4) Taiwan 83.1 November 97
(5) Germany 81.7 November 97
(6) Singapore 74.4 November 97
(7) Spain 69.4 November 97
(8) US 68.5 November 97
(9) Italy 57.5 November 97
(10) Brazil 52.4 October 97

 

Source: HKMA, IMF, Reuters

* Detailed breakdown at Tables 4 and 5

 

TABLE 2

Foreign Currency Assets and Interest Rate Movements
.End of Period
Forex assets
Average
1-month Hibor
December 1996 63.8 5.47%
January 1997 65.9 5.17%
Februrary 1997 63.8 5.38%
March 1997 63.4 5.54%
April 1997 63.6 5.69%
May 1997 66.6 5.97%
June 1997 67.6 6.31%
July 1997 66.1 6.31%
August 1997 69.5 7.22%
September 1997 71.4 7.49%
October 1997 74.0 10.24%
November 1997 79.1 9.66%
December 1997 75.3 7.29%

 

TABLE 3

Total Foreign Currency Assets
(Exchange Fund and Land Fund)
.(US$ billion)
End- July 97 81.7
End- August 97 85.3
End- September 97 88.1
End- October 97 91.4
End- November 97 96.5
End- December 97 92.8

 

TABLE 4

Exchange Fund -- Foreign Currency Reserves (US$ billion)
.Excluding forward transactionsNet forward transactionsIncluding forward transactions
End- January 97 65.9 5.2 71.1
End- Februrary 97 63.8 4.3 68.1
End- March 97 63.4 4.3 67.7
End- April 97 63.6 4.0 67.6
End- May 97 66.6 1.8 68.4
End- June 97 67.6 2.1 69.7
End- July 97 66.1 2.5 68.6
End- August 97 69.5 0.1 69.6
End- September 97 71.4 0.3 71.7
End- October 97 74.0 0.4 74.4
End- November 97 79.1 0.4 79.5
End- December 97 75.3 0.3 75.6

 

TABLE 5

Land Fund -- Foreign Currency Reserves (US$ billion)
.Excluding forward transactionsNet forward transactionsIncluding forward transactions
End- July 97 15.6 0.1 15.7
End- August 97 15.8 0.1 15.9
End- September 97 16.7 0.4 17.1
End- October 97 17.4 (0.1) 17.3
End- November 97 17.4 0 17.4
End- December 97 17.5 0.1 17.6

 

Note: The Land Fund was established on 1 July 1997. Figures prior to that date are therefore not available

Last revision date: 1 August 2011
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