© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Hong Kong dollar coin is seen in this illustration photo May 31, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration/File Photo
HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s de-facto central bank bought HK$3.054 billion ($389.1 million) from the market in New York trading hours to stop the local currency from breaking below its peg to the U.S. dollar.
The action will bring the aggregate balance – the key gauge of cash in the banking system – below HK$100 billion. It will decrease to HK$96.977 billion on Tuesday, a Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) spokeswoman said on Saturday.
The Hong Kong dollar is pegged to a tight band of between 7.75 and 7.85 versus the U.S. dollar.
While analysts and other market participants have been watching the balance approach the HKD$100 billion mark with a view on potential market stresses, the immediate impact seems to be on interest rates.
The HKMA has bought Hong Kong dollars worth about US$30.7 billion from the market through 40 rounds of intervention since the Federal Reserve began raising rates in March. Its intervention has boosted local yields alongside those on U.S. dollar assets.
($1 = 7.8493 Hong Kong dollars)