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Move excites SAR traders

Dan Boylan

International futures dealers in Hong Kong say many of the world's investors consider the SAR an 'exotic' market compared to established trading centres.

But Banque National de Paris (BNP) trader Bertrand Hongre believes the introduction of Hibor could change that perception.

He said Hong Kong's interest rate market was dominated by major local banks and a limited number of London banks. The absence of a standard financial measuring instrument, such as Hibor, often frightened potential players away from Hong Kong.

BNP and a host of other major traders in Hong Kong say they are excited by the prospects of Hibor's launch and speculate the new product will open up avenues for traders across the world.

Mr Hongre anticipates BNP will pick up new clients, primarily banks and treasury dealers, when it begins trading Hibor contracts.

'More people will be taking positions in the interest rate market and that will then add depth to the market,' he said. 'More people will be more comfortable with Hibor.' Another BNP trader said Hibor would counter recent volatility in Hong Kong's markets and the resulting jump in interest rates to combat potential speculation on the Hong Kong dollar.

'Hong Kong's interest rate market will stand out for its stability in a region recently rocked by currency speculation and interest rate upheavals,' he said. In addition, traders say Hibor will boost Hong Kong's market profile into the ranks of major futures exchanges such as London, Chicago and Tokyo.

Mr Hongre said BNP already traded interest rate futures on numerous markets throughout the world.

'This will really increase convenience for dealers wanting to trade on the Hong Kong market,' he said.

Another BNP trader said Hong Kong's interest rate market was traditionally controlled by larger players who set prices and bids at will.

However, as the market had grown and globalised, the introduction of new products, such as Hibor, had created a greater degree of fairness.