Chinese Banks Activate Contingency Plans to Prepare For Hong Kong Bank Run
But say they have plenty of cash to deal with demand.
Chinese banks have activated contingency plans to prepare for a possible bank run by protesters in Hong Kong but say they are confident they can deal with any problems.
As we reported yesterday, activist leader Chen Haotian called on fellow protesters to target Chinese banks by simultaneously withdrawing all their money.
A viral post also appeared on the Hong Kong version of Reddit encouraging demonstrators to withdraw their money and convert it to U.S. dollars in order to sabotage Beijing’s financial autonomy.
In response, Bank of East Asia, DBS, OCBC Wing Hang Bank, and Hang Seng Bank have all reportedly activated contingency plans and are monitoring large withdrawals.
However, the banks, seeking to avoid a panic, all assert that they can deal with any planned bank run, arguing that Chinese New Year season is much worse.
HSBC said it “has sufficient supply of banknotes” to deal with demand.
“I don’t think it will be a problem,” George Leung Siu-kay, an adviser to HSBC, told the South China Morning Post.
OCBC Wing Hang Bank also said that Friday was a “normal banking day” and that no problems were encountered.
Hong Kong residents are allowed to withdraw from HK$20,000 (US$2,548) to HK$40,000 from ATMs.
Investors Are Worrying About Hong Kong Banks as Protests Roll OnBy
Investors are getting anxious about the impact anti-government demonstrations are having on Hong Kong’s banks.
“Things will be going down if people start seeing Hong Kong, which is an international financial center, differently,” said Ronald Wan, CEO of Partners Capital International Ltd. “There will be concern over banks if we see significant capital outflows as they will lose support for business.”
It’s not just anti-government demonstrations, now in their 11th week, that are hurting banks in the city: a slowing economy, weaker Chinese currency — down 2.5% since the end of June — and the trade dispute with the U.S. create a troublesome mix. And it’s showing in the stock market.
HSBC Holdings Plc’s shares have plunged 13% in just three weeks and are near the most oversold since at least 1989, while BOC Hong Kong Holdings Ltd. has dropped 12% this month. Lenders’ losses have weighed on the benchmark Hang Seng Index, which is among the worst-performing major equity gauges in the world this August, though it rose 0.9% Friday.
Citigroup Inc. has turned more cautious on Hong Kong banks, saying in a research note last week that the weakening yuan would cause a “drastic” decline in loans to mainland China clients and hurt asset quality. “We see bigger earnings risk to Hong Kong banks,” analysts including Yafei Tian wrote, downgrading the rating on BOC Hong Kong to neutral. They also said there’s 20% to 60% downside in the sector’s earnings per share.
With assistance by Jeanny Yu
Hong Kong’s banks say they have adequate cash to meet demand, even as calls circulate online for protesters to empty out ATMs
- City’s lenders said they have contingency plans in place, monitoring situation
- Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary said the city’s banking system is ‘very solid’ and has ‘adequate liquidity’
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan’s financial sector is prepared for a worst-case scenario if, as expected, Hong Kong experiences a bank run on Friday (Aug. 16) as a result of protestors making their voices heard by disrupting the financial system.
Reports suggest that protestors of the semi-autonomous region of China are being urged to withdraw as much cash as possible from their bank accounts and through ATMs. The approach aims to create further chaos in the financial hub of Hong Kong, reported Stuff.
The development is concerning for Taiwan, with a financial sector that has NT$1 trillion (US$31.6 billion) exposure in Hong Kong, said Wellington Koo (顧立雄), chief of the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC), reported China Times. While capital may be drawn from Hong Kong if the situation spirals out of control, Koo believes the impact could be limited because Taiwan banks based in Hong Kong primarily target corporate finance.
Deputy Finance Minister Juan Ching-hwa (阮清華) said eight Taiwan banks partly-owned by the government currently have a total exposure of NT$200 billion in Hong Kong. The finance ministry is closely monitoring developments and will strengthen risk controls accordingly, said the report.
Hong Kong Activist Leader Calls For a Run on the Bank
Chen Haotian asks citizens to withdraw cash deposits to target Chinese banks.