The Monetary Authority announced today, 14 October 2019, that the countercyclical capital buffer (CCyB) for Hong Kong is reduced to 2.0% from 2.5% with immediate effect.
“Economic indicators and other relevant evidence have signaled that the economic environment in Hong Kong has deteriorated significantly since June 2019.” Mr. Eddie Yue, the Monetary Authority, said. “Lowering the countercyclical capital buffer at this juncture will allow banks to be more supportive to the domestic economy and help mitigate the economic cycle.”
Further details of the decision may be found in the Announcement of the CCyB to Authorized Institutions on the HKMA website.
In setting the CCyB ratio the Monetary Authority considered a series of quantitative indicators and qualitative information including an “indicative buffer guide” (which is a metric providing a guide for CCyB ratio based on the gap between the ratio of credit to GDP and its long term trend, and between the ratio of residential property prices to rentals and its long term trend). The latest indicative buffer guide, calculated based on 2019Q2 data, signals a CCyB of 2.25%. The projection based on all available data however suggests that the indicative buffer guide would very likely signal a significantly lower CCyB than this when all relevant 2019Q3 data become available.
Whilst the indicative buffer guide, as its name suggests, provides only a “guide” for CCyB decisions, the determination of the jurisdictional CCyB ratio for Hong Kong is not a mechanical exercise and, in addition to the indicative buffer guide, the Monetary Authority also reviewed a range of other reference indicators. The information drawn from all these sources suggests that the economic environment in Hong Kong has deteriorated significantly since June 2019. It is therefore appropriate to reduce the CCyB ratio to 2.0% from 2.5% at this stage.
The CCyB is an integral part of the Basel 3 regulatory capital framework and is being implemented in parallel by Basel Committee member jurisdictions worldwide. The CCyB has been designed by the Basel Committee to increase the resilience of the banking sector in periods of excess credit growth. The banking sector can then act as a “shock absorber” in times of stress, rather than as an amplifier of risk to the broader economy.
The specific CCyB requirement applicable to a given Authorized Institution is expressed as a percentage of its CET1 capital to its total risk-weighted assets (RWA). Each AI’s CCyB requirement may vary depending on the geographic mix of its private sector credit exposures and the CCyB applicable in each jurisdiction where it has such exposures.
The power to implement the CCyB in Hong Kong is provided by the Banking (Capital) Rules, which enable the Monetary Authority to announce a CCyB ratio for Hong Kong if the Monetary Authority considers that a period of excessive credit growth in Hong Kong is leading to a build-up of system-wide risks in the financial system of Hong Kong.
14 October 2019