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Hong Kong holds rate as US Fed signals end to tightening cycle

Bloomberg
Bloomberg • 2 min read
Hong Kong holds rate as US Fed signals end to tightening cycle
Hong Kong’s borrowing costs have spiked in the last two years as the Fed raised rates to combat inflation. Photo: Bloomberg
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The Hong Kong Monetary Authority maintained its base rate at 5.75% on Thursday after the US Federal Reserve held its own interest rate, potentially ending its aggressive tightening cycle. 

Hong Kong’s borrowing costs have spiked in the last two years as the Fed raised rates to combat inflation. The city’s base rate moves in lockstep with the Fed, given the local currency’s peg to the greenback.

Now the US central bank may be finished hiking interest rates. Fed Chair Jerome Powell hinted as much on Wednesday, telling reporters that “slowing down is giving us, I think, a better sense of how much more we need to do, if we need to do more.”

The HKMA said it would “closely monitor” market developments and maintain monetary and financial stability, warning that Hong Kong dollar interbank rates might remain high for some time. 

The Fed’s decisions “will continue to be dependent on the latest economic data and the impact of continual rate hikes during the past year on the economy,” the city’s monetary authority said in a statement. “It is therefore premature to conclude whether the US rate hike cycle has been completed, and the high interest-rate environment is likely to last for some time.”

Earlier this year, Hong Kong’s biggest banks raised their best lending rates as the monetary tightening cycle hit liquidity and increased their funding costs, though they have since been holding off from increasing them again. That was also the case Thursday, when HSBC Holdings Plc. maintained its best lending rate. 

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