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Hong Kong's Latest Foreign Currency Assets Figures Released

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced today (7 January 2000) that the official foreign currency assets of Hong Kong amounted to US$96.3 billion at the end of December 1999 (end-November: US$92.1 billion) (Table 1).

Including unsettled forward contracts, the foreign currency assets of Hong Kong at the end of December 1999 also stood at US$96.3 billion (end-November: US$92.6 billion).

According to an HKMA spokesperson, the US$4.2 billion increase in settled foreign currency assets in the month of December was mainly due to the issue of additional currency notes, which are backed by US dollars deposited by the note issuing banks with the Exchange Fund.

In terms of foreign currency reserves ranking, Hong Kong is now the world's fourth largest holder of foreign currency reserves after Japan, Mainland China and Taiwan (Table 2).

The total foreign currency assets of US$96.3 billion represent over six times the currency in circulation or about 39% of Hong Kong dollar M3, one of the highest ratios in the world.

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

7 January 2000

Table 1

Foreign Currency Assets of Hong Kong
(US$ billion)

            Excluding                   Including
Unsettled Unsettled Unsettled
FX Contracts FX Contracts FX Contracts
Dec 95 55.4 1.8 57.2
Dec 96 63.8 5.7 69.6
Dec 97 92.8 0.4 93.2
Jan 98 98.1 - 98.1
Feb 98 96.7 - 96.7
Mar 98 96.8 0.1 96.9
Apr 98 96.2 (0.1) 96.1
May 98 96.4 - 96.4
Jun 98 96.5 - 96.5
Jul 98 96.5 (0.5) 96.0
Aug 98 92.1 (4.5) 87.6
Sep 98 88.4 (0.2) 88.2
Oct 98 88.7 (0.2) 88.5
Nov 98 88.6 - 88.6
Dec 98 89.6 - 89.6
Jan 99 90.1 - 90.1
Feb 99 89.8 - 89.8
Mar 99 89.5 - 89.5
Apr 99 89.5 - 89.5
May 99 88.9 - 88.9
Jun 99 88.6 - 88.6
Jul 99 89.1 - 89.1
Aug 99 89.2 0.1 89.3
Sep 99 90.4 - 90.4
Oct 99 90.4 - 90.4
Nov 99 92.1 0.5 92.6
Dec 99 96.3 - 96.3

Figures for the end of 1995 and 1996 do not include Land Fund figures. The Land Fund was established on 1 July 1997. For July 1997 to October 1998 inclusive, the foreign currency assets of Hong Kong were compiled as the aggregate of Exchange Fund and Land Fund figures. In November 1998, the assets of the Land Fund were merged into the Exchange Fund.

Table 2

Foreign Currency Reserves Ranking

                    US$ billion     As at end of
(1)  Japan             288.1             Dec 1999
(2)  China             154.7             Dec 1999
(3)  Taiwan            106.2             Dec 1999
(4)  Hong Kong         96.3              Dec 1999
(5)  Germany           90.4              Nov 1999
(6)  Singapore         74.5              Nov 1999
(7)  Korea             74.1              Dec 1999
(8)  US                72.4              Nov 1999
(9)  France            69.3              Nov 1999
(10) Italy             43.7              Nov 1999

Sources: HKMA, Reuters, Deutsche Bundesbank, Monetary Authority of Singapore, U.S. Department of Treasury, Bank of Italy.

Last revision date: 1 August 2011
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