Hong Kong on watch for any ‘spillover’ from US regional banks

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HONG KONG, March 24 (Reuters) – Hong Kong needs to watch carefully for any further “spillover” from U.S. regional banks, although the city has very little exposure to the situation in European and U.S. financial institutions, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority said on Friday.

The failure of two U.S. banks and a crisis at Credit Suisse have rattled financial markets over the past week and sent shockwaves through the global banking system.

Eddie Yue, the chief of Hong Kong’s de facto central bank, said the city has little exposure to Additional Tier 1 (AT1) bonds – a type of contingent convertible debt that are part of the capital buffers that regulators require banks to hold to protect themselves in times of market turmoil.

Asian policymakers are scrambling to calm investor nerves about AT1 bonds after holdings of such Credit Suisse bonds were written down to zero, but the ongoing market turbulence is likely to keep a lid on fresh debt issuance.

“The recent events in the U.S. and Europe have very little impact on Hong Kong,” Yue said.

“The situation is largely stabilised, but we still need to watch whether there will be further spillover, especially to the other U.S. regional banks.”

Hong Kong and global banks needed to be prepared for any further volatility in the market, he added.

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