HKMA's Norman Chan reappointed
On March 20, Hong Kong Financial Secretary John C. Tsang announced the reappointment of Norman Chan as the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) for a term of five years effective October 1, 2014.
“Under Norman’s leadership in the past few years, the HKMA has tackled the shocks and challenges following the global financial crisis and effectively maintained the stability of Hong Kong’s monetary and financial systems,” said Mr. Tsang. “Despite considerable volatility and uncertainties in the financial markets, the Exchange Fund has achieved investment income commensurate with its investment objectives. On the market development front, the HKMA has been instrumental in developing Hong Kong as the largest offshore renminbi center and maintaining our status as an international financial center.
“I have every confidence that Norman will be able to continue to assist me in these aspects in the coming years.”
Foreign currency reserves grow
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority announced that the official foreign currency reserve assets of Hong Kong amounted to US$315.9 billion at the end of February 2014, compared to US$312.2 billion at end-January 2014.
There were no unsettled foreign exchange contracts for either month. The total foreign currency reserve assets of US$315.9 billion represent over seven times the currency in circulation or about 51% of Hong Kong dollar M3.
Exchange Fund decreases
The total assets of the Exchange Fund amounted to US$386.42 billion on January 31, US$2.03 billion lower than that at the end of December 2013, according to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.
Foreign currency assets decreased by US$1.44 billion and Hong Kong dollar assets decreased by US$589.7 million.
The decline in foreign currency assets was mainly due to reduced holding of foreign currency deposits, valuation losses on foreign currency investments and a decrease in unsettled purchases of securities. These decreases were partly offset by an increase in foreign currency assets connected with the issuance of additional certificates of indebtedness. The decline in Hong Kong dollar assets was mainly due to a decrease in Exchange Fund Bills and Notes issued but not yet settled, mark-to-market loss on Hong Kong equities and a decrease in unsettled purchases of securities. These decreases were partly offset by placements received from fiscal reserves.
The currency board account shows that the Monetary Base at the end of January was US$164.15 billion, an increase of US$3.15 billion, or 2.0%, from the end of December 2013. The rise was due to an increase in the outstanding amount of certificates of indebtedness, which reflected the seasonal demand for banknotes around Lunar New Year.
Backing Assets increased by US$3.62 billion, or 2.1%, to US$176.56 billion. The rise was attributable to an increase in assets connected with the issuance of additional certificates of indebtedness and revaluation gains. The backing ratio increased from 107.41% at the end of December 2013 to 107.56% at the end of January.
Alexa Lam reappointed to SFC
Alexa Lam has been re-appointed as the Executive Director (Investment Products, International and China)/Deputy CEO of the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) for one year, from March 1 to February 28, 2015.
The appointment was made with the authority delegated from the Chief Executive under the Securities and Futures Ordinance. Mrs. Lam’s post covers the development of overall policy for the SFC as a whole, with an emphasis on mainland China, as well as the regulation and authorization of investment products.
Before joining the SFC as an adviser in 1998, Mrs. Lam had been a legal practitioner in Hong Kong, Chicago and New York for more than 20 years and served as a visiting lecturer at the University of Hong Kong. She has been an Executive Director of the SFC since 2001 and was appointed to the current post in 2008.