Friday, January 27, 2012

HKMA Follows FOMC in Keeping Rate on Hold at 0.50%

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority kept its base rate steady at 0.50% following the decision of the US Federal Reserve to leave the fed funds rate unchanged at 0-0.25% until late 2014.  The HKMA said (according to WSJ) the Fed forecasts "reflect the still-soft outlook of the U.S economy, which is weighed by a weak job market, a depressed housing market, the need for long-term fiscal consolidation as well as the lingering sovereign debt crisis in Europe." Adding: "In such an uncertain environment... we would like to remind the public to be careful and avoid over-stretching themselves financially,"

The HKMA also previously held its base interest rate unchanged at 0.50%, after the FOMC met in December last year.  The Hong Kong Monetary Authority generally tends to follow the monetary policy decisions of the US Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee as the Hong Kong Dollar is fixed against the United States Dollar.

Hong Kong reported consumer price inflation of 5.7% in December, 5.8% in October and September, compared to 5.7% in August, 7.9% in July, 5.6% in June, 5.2% in May and 4.6% in April this year.  Hong Kong's economy expanded 0.1% in Q3 this year, (-0.4% in Q2, 2.8% in Q1), placing year on year GDP growth at 4.3% (5% in Q2, 7.5% in Q1).  

The Hong Kong dollar is fixed against the U.S. currency at an exchange rate of between HK$7.75 and HK$7.85 per dollar; the USDHKD exchange rate last traded at 7.755.  The Hang Seng is down -13.5% over the past year, and last traded around 20,500.


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