Run on Hong Kong bank fuels global market jitters
Tuesday 11 November 1997
Hong Kong yesterday saw the first sign of public panic over the financial crisis when depositors besieged the International Bank of Asia (IBA) to withdraw money following rumours that it was in difficulty. The territory's three main banks, the Hongkong Bank, the Bank of China and Standard Chartered Bank, responded with a highly unusual joint statement condemning "unfounded market rumours circulating about the health of certain smaller banks".
The statement acknowledged that Asia's currency and equity turmoil was having an effect on Hong Kong but insisted its economic fundamentals were strong. "Hong Kong's banking system is robust," it said.
Yet investors across the globe have grown more concerned about the turmoil in Asian financial markets.
Shares in London and New York made small gains yesterday, in edgy trading ahead of a holiday today in many markets and the Federal Reserve's key interest rate meeting tomorrow. The FTSE 100 index ended 43 points higher at 4,806.8. But analysts have grown more concerned about the continuing crisis.
Stephen Hannah, head of research for Japanese bank IBJ in London, said: "There is a vicious circle. The South-east Asian crisis continues to broaden and deepen."
Concern about the Japanese economy, exposed to south-east Asia through bank lending as well as trade, has increased correspondingly. Gerard Lyons at DKB said that although the big Japanese banks were responding vigorously to their problems, the economy was in difficulty.
The Fed is not expected to raise US interest rates this week because of the fragility of the world's financial markets. But Alison Cottrell at Paine Webber said this meant fears about inflation pressures on both sides of the Atlantic would increasingly trouble investors.
"People have been talking about the Goldilocks economy - neither too hot nor too cold - with inflation tame so far. Now we are being reminded that Goldilocks is just a fairy story," she said.
UK figures yesterday showed that inflation pressures in manufacturing are negligible. Prices charged at the factory gate rose 0.1 per cent last month, edging the annual rate down to 1.2 per cent. Manufacturers' input costs fell by 0.2 per cent during the month.
But the Bank of England's Inflation Report tomorrow is expected to warn there are still risks of higher inflation, pointing to the price pressures in the other four-fifths of the economy.
A survey from the British Retail Consortium yesterday underlined this concern, showing high street spending rebounded last month to the levels seen in the early summer, following a sharp dip in September.
In the circumstances yesterday's fall in the Hang Seng index could be regarded as modest. It fell 111.66, or just over 1 per cent. But it closed at 9,999.84, passing the psychological prop of the 10,000 mark.
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
newsFormer soldier taped 33 of the animals to the floor and then stamped on them one by one
Michelle Nijhuis' daughter insists (s)he is, and she learnt a valuable lesson on gender in books
Geoffrey Macnab reviews American Hustle, also starring Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper
news Opponents claim it would stop performers such as Beyonce and Madonna appearing on TV
It takes a platoon of chefs, litres of brandy and rum, and almost 100kg of dried fruit
newsThat most ancient of crimes is on the rise, threatening farmers' livelihoods, community trust – and human health
Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
Lee Rigby murder: How killers Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale became ultra-violent radicals
Cycle death inquest: Boyfriend hugs driver of 32 tonne tipper truck that killed his girlfriend
Paul Walker death caused by speed alone
Apollo Theatre collapse: Scores injured after ceiling collapses in London's West End
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 North Koreans are gasping for the truth: Let's give it to them
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 5 Cycle death inquest: Boyfriend hugs driver of 32 tonne tipper truck that killed his girlfriend
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£55000 - £120000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: The Financial Services Tran...
£600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: Client based in West London is looking ...
£80000 - £120000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Risk - Delivery/...
£Negotiable: Citifocus: This is a new role carrying responsibility for a numbe...