Go for dinner, come back, see that the Hong Kong Monetary Authority bought HK$60 million of US dollars in the open markets and then dumped that in the closing aggregate balances of the banking system. Together with a US$ rate in Hong Kong dollars at 7.751 (1% of the total bandwidth away from the upper band of the HK$ value relative the US dollar) when the euro, Australian dollar, cable, and commodities across the board are falling while Chinese stocks outperform the world, I think it’s safe to say that the peg defense of the HK$ by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority started today.
This will start providing Hong Kong with an early Christmas present in terms of more liquidity in the banking system, and as short-term rates are generally going up, it seems like there is demand for cash for investment purposes as well, so this liquidity will probably be used very, very quickly. It will definitely be interesting to follow up on as the month progresses, and an early Merry Christmas to all you traders or investors out there holding long Hong Kong positions! Institutional traders kicked off the week by getting rid of liquidity as well for investment purposes, putting themselves just a bit above HK$75.7 billion in total HKMA liquidity used and putting the 75B line under attack for the week to come. Overall HKMA liquidity increased, so banks got a lot more Exchange Fund Bills and Notes to hold overnight, so these interest rates going up might come in handy!
As a small and sour cherry on top, there’s the increase in cash circulating through the economy. This is obviously bigger than any other factor, but it being December and retail picking up means that more cash will be needed to fuel the shopping of the season, so I wouldn’t put too much thought into that. HK$2 billion is still nothing to sneeze at – even though I am having a cold at the moment! – and it could be a good indicator of how holiday season shopping is progressing so it’ll be worth keeping an eye on.
Until that data becomes clearer, we have a peg defense! Ready the champagne and go long!