January 23, 2020 / 10:27 AM / a month ago

Hong Kong Exchange Fund's 2019 investment income rises to second-highest on record

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong’s Exchange Fund, which is used to back the Hong Kong dollar, posted investment income of HK$247.2 billion ($31.8 billion) in 2019, the second highest on record, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) said on Thursday.

In 2018, the exchange fund recorded adjusted investment income of HK$10.9 billion.

Easing trade tensions and accommodative monetary policies by major central banks had supported equity and bond markets, HKMA Chief Executive Eddie Yue said.

Gains in bonds rose 99.3% from a year ago to HK$114.4 billion in 2019. Gains in Hong Kong and other equities reached HK$22.1 billion and HK$100.3 billion respectively, compared with losses of HK$20.7 billion and HK$38.7 billion a year earlier.

However, the territory’s de facto central bank said the investment environment this year would remain challenging, with the next phase of U.S.-China trade talks, implementation of Brexit and the Middle East’s situation affecting market sentiment.

“As the market outlook for 2020 remains highly uncertain, the HKMA will continue to manage the exchange fund prudently and further diversify our investments as appropriate to receive higher long-term return for the exchange fund,” Yue said.

The HKMA is the key manager of the Exchange Fund, which is under the control of the financial secretary and invests in equities, bonds, foreign exchange and other securities and assets.

Reporting by Twinnie Siu and Donny Kwok; editing by Larry King

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