THE inaugural issue of Mass Transit Railway Corp (MTRC) notes through the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) met strong demand, with the $500 million on offer oversubscribed almost four times. The five-year notes, maturing in 2000, offer a 7.9 per cent fixed rate of interest, about 76 basis points above exchange fund notes of the same maturity. The HKMA, which is acting as arranging agent for the MTRC's $10 billion note-issuance programme, said it received $1.93 billion in applications. The MTRC programme is the first designed to mirror the exchange fund's programme, and it is the first time the HKMA has acted as arranger, agent and operator for a non-government issuance programme. The HKMA is keen to get the MTRC and the Provisional Airport Authority involved in the Hong Kong dollar debt market and has tried to lure retail investors into MTRC debt securities and exchange fund bills and notes.