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Hong Kong's Latest Foreign Currency Assets Figures Released

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced today (8 February 2000) that the official foreign currency assets of Hong Kong amounted to US$94.3 billion at the end of January 2000 (end-December 1999: US$96.3 billion) (Table 1).

Including unsettled forward contracts, the foreign currency assets of Hong Kong at the end of January 2000 stood at US$94.2 billion (end-December 1999: US$96.3 billion).

According to an HKMA spokesperson, the US$2.0 billion decrease in settled foreign currency assets in the month of January was mainly due to a reduction in currency notes outstanding and the sale of foreign currencies for Hong Kong dollars.

In terms of foreign currency reserves ranking, Hong Kong is 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$94.3 billion represent over six times the currency in circulation or about 38% of Hong Kong dollar M3, one of the highest ratios in the world.

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

8 February 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
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
Jan 00        94.3         (0.1)          94.2
Jan 00        94.3         (0.1)          94.2

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             293.2             Jan 2000
(2)  China             154.7             Dec 1999
(3)  Taiwan            110.1             Jan 2000
(4)  Hong Kong         94.3              Jan 2000
(5)  Germany           90.3              Jan 2000
(6)  Singapore         77.2              Dec 1999
(7)  Korea             76.8              Jan 2000
(8)  France            71.6              Dec 1999
(9)  US                70.5              Jan 2000
(10) Italy             45.3              Dec 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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