Foreign currency reserves at US$279.4 billion
The official foreign currency reserve assets of Hong Kong amounted to US$279.4 billion as of the end of August, compared with US$278.8 billion at end-July, according to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. This includes unsettled forward contracts.
The total assets represent about nine times the currency in circulation, or 55% of Hong Kong dollar M3.
Exchange Fund amounts to US$319.35 billion
Total assets of the Exchange Fund amounted to US$319.35 billion as of July 31, according to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. This is US$7.41 billion higher than at the end of June.
Foreign currency assets increased by US$6.1 billion, and Hong Kong dollar assets increased by US$1.3 billion.
The rise in foreign currency assets was mainly due to an increase in unsettled purchases of securities and valuation gains on foreign currency investments. The rise in Hong Kong dollar assets was mainly due to placements received from Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government funds and statutory bodies.
The currency board account shows the monetary base at the end of July was US$135.38 billion, an increase of US$192.3 million, or 0.1%, from the end of June. The rise was mainly due to an increase in certificates of indebtedness.
The backing assets increased by US$820.5 million, or 0.6%, to US$147.02 billion. The increase was mainly attributable to the issuance of certificates of indebtedness together with revaluation gains and interest from investments. The backing ratio increased from 108.14% at the end of June to 108.59% at the end of July.
License granted to Swiss bank
On September 20, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority granted a banking license to Banque Privée Edmond de Rothschild SA (BPER) under the Banking Ordinance, effective September 16. This brings the number of licensed banks in Hong Kong to 151.
BPER is incorporated in Switzerland. According to the July 2011 issue of The Banker, BPER is the 21st largest bank in Switzerland in terms of Tier 1 capital.