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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 were US$88.4 billion at the end of September 1998. (End-August: US$92.1 billion).

According to a HKMA spokesman, "the US$3.7 billion drop in settled foreign currency assets during the month can be attributed to the settlement of the US$4.4 billion unsettled forward exchange contracts announced last month with the August foreign currency asset figures."

On the last two trading days in August (28 and 31 August), some US$4.4 billion in the Exchange Fund was sold for "value spot", that is, for settlement in two days on 1 September and 2 September respectively.

Adjusted for the settlement of these forward foreign currency contracts, the total foreign currency assets during the month actually rose slightly due primarily to investment gains.

The foreign currency assets of Hong Kong are held in the Exchange Fund and the Land Fund. As at the end of September, on a settled basis, the foreign currency assets held in the Exchange Fund were US$69.3 billion (end-August: US$73.4 billion) and in the Land Fund were US$19.1 billion (end-August: US$18.7 billion).

Including unsettled foreign exchange contracts, the foreign currency assets held in the Exchange Fund and the Land Fund were US$69.2 billion (end-August: US$69.0 billion) and US$19.0 billion (end-August: US$18.6 billion) respectively (Table 1 and 2).

In terms of foreign currency reserves ranking, Hong Kong remains the third largest in the world, after Japan and Mainland China (Table 3).

The total foreign currency assets of US$88.4 billion represent about eight times the currency in circulation or about 40% of Hong Kong dollar M3, one of the highest ratios in the world.

Hong Kong Monetary Authority
22 October 1998

 

TABLE 1

Exchange Fund -- Foreign Currency Reserves (US$ billion)
. Excluding Unsettled FX Contracts Unsettled FX Contracts Including Unsettled FX Contracts
March 95 52.4 (0.2) 52.2
June 95 53.6 - 53.6
September 95 51.8 2.8 54.6
December 95 55.4 1.8 57.2
March 1996 58.1 1.7 59.8
June 96 57.3 2.7 60.0
September 96 55.4 6.7 62.1
December 96 63.8 5.7 69.9
February 1997 63.8 4.3 68.1
March 1997 63.4 4.3 67.7
April 1997 63.6 4.0 67.6
May 1997 66.6 1.8 68.4
June 1997 67.6 2.1 69.7
July 1997 66.1 2.5 68.6
August 1997 69.5 0.1 69.6
September 1997 71.4 0.3 71.7
October 1997 74.0 0.4 74.4
November 1997 79.1 0.4 79.5
December 1997 75.3 0.3 75.6
January 1998 80.3 - 80.3
February 1998 78.6 - 78.6
March 1998 78.5 0.1 78.6
April 1998 77.7 - 77.7
May 1998 77.9 - 77.9
June 1998 77.9 - 77.9
July 1998 77.8 (0.5) 77.3
August 1998 73.4 (4.4)* 69.0
September 1998 69.3 (0.1) 69.2

 

* This arises from "spot" transactions ( that is, settlement in two days) done at the end of August for settlement at the beginning of September.

 

TABLE 2

Land Fund -- Foreign Currency Reserves (US$ billion)
. Excluding Unsettled FX Contracts Unsettled FX Contracts Including Unsettled FX Contracts
July 1997 15.6 0.1 15.7
August 1997 15.8 0.1 15.9
September 1997 16.7 0.4 17.1
October 1997 17.4 (0.1) 17.3
November 1997 17.4 0 17.4
December 1997 17.5 0.1 17.6
January 1998 17.8 - 17.8
February 1998 18.1 - 18.1
March 1998 18.3 - 18.3
April 1998 18.5 (0.1) 18.4
May 1998 18.5 - 18.5
June 1998 18.6 - 18.6
July 1998 18.7 - 18.7
August 1998 18.7 (0.1) 18.6
September 1998 19.1 (0.1) 19.0

 

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

 

TABLE 3

Foreign Exchange Reserves Ranking
- - US$BN As at end of
(1) Japan 212.1 Sept 1998
(2) China 141.1 Sept 1998
(3) Hong Kong 88.4* Sept 1998
(4) Germany 84.4 Aug 1998
(5) Taiwan 83.7 Aug 1998
(6) US 74.3 Aug 1998
(7) Spain 68.8 Aug 1998
(8) Singapore 68.2 Aug 1998
(9) Brazil 48.0 Oct 1998
(10) Italy 46.4 Aug 1998

 

Source: HKMA, IMF, Reuters

* Detailed breakdown at Tables 1 and 2

Last revision date: 1 August 2011
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