Hong Kong Dollar Set for Longest Falling Streak Since March 2018
The Hong Kong dollar weakened for a seventh day, its longest run of declines since March 2018, as the shelving of a large initial public offering and waning seasonal tightness helped ease liquidity tightness.
The currency dropped as much as 0.06% Monday, extending a slide from its two-year high to around 0.6%. It stood at HK$7.8273 per greenback as of 10:30 a.m. local time, the weakest since June 19.
Liquidity conditions are easing after a cash crunch sent interbank borrowing costs to the highest since 2008, helped by Anheuser-Busch InBev NV deciding to suspend an initial public offering of its Asia Pacific unit in Hong Kong. Funds had been locked up ahead of what was slated to be the year’s largest IPO. Banks are also more willing to lend following end-June regulatory checks, while companies have already paid out a large chunk of dividends.
“Liquidity became ample again as cash that was previously locked up for the IPO got released back into the market,” said Carie Li, an economist at OCBC Wing Hang Bank Ltd. “The currency will remain in the weak half its trading range, but it won’t touch HK$7.85 again as traders won’t short it aggressively amid more volatile local funding costs.”
Shorting the city’s dollars was a winning strategy for years as investors borrowed the currency cheaply to invest in higher-yielding American assets. The trade pushed the Hong Kong dollar to the weak end of its trading band repeatedly since 2018, forcing the de-facto central bank to intervene to defend its exchange-rate peg versus the greenback. This cut the interbank liquidity pool by half over the past year, making borrowing costs more volatile.