Hong Kong stocks are likely to survive the effects of any rate rise next week relatively unscathed - but only because they have slipped so far in the past two months. Brokers said higher borrowing costs had largely been factored into prices. If the United States Federal Reserve surprises traders and leaves rates unchanged at Tuesday's policy meeting, the Hang Seng Index will probably see the usual relief rally, followed by 10 more weeks of uncertainty until the next Fed meeting. Brokers put the downside of a tightening in monetary policy at a modest 200 points. Jake van der Kamp, group head of strategy at HG Asia, said: 'I think that they [the Fed] have to raise rates. It's what Hong Kong is expecting . . . Most of the impact is already in the price.' The Hang Seng Index has fallen 8.7 per cent since the last meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee on February 4. In Hong Kong, the impact of a rise will be felt most keenly by those rate-sensitive sectors that have been punished since the start of the Year of the Ox. Nitin Parekh, strategist at Credit Suisse First Boston, said: 'Properties will perform relatively poorly, banks will outperform properties and utilities will do best.' Investors looking for a safe haven might be tempted by China-related counters as these derive their earnings from activities outside the sphere of influence of US monetary policy. Raymond Jook, China shares analyst at SocGen-Crosby Securities, cautioned that the sector was not immune to a general downturn prompted by Fed action. Brokers said a decision to leave rates unchanged would not bring much cheer either. One broker said: ''There might be a mild relief rally but uncertainty would then return.'