SINKING stock markets and soaring interest rates have sparked a rush to deposit savings in Hong Kong dollar time accounts. The bumper rates - some of the highest on record - are overcoming the temptation for many savers to switch their money into US dollars. Concerns about the Hong Kong currency and stability of the link to the greenback mean that most are keeping their funds in for one rather than three months. Rates have soared about 30 per cent in the past three months, with some banks offering more than 9 per cent on their three-month accounts. Hong Kong's savers easily outnumber borrowers but they have traditionally had to put up with below inflation rates of return on their deposits. Time deposit rates are now easily outpacing the SAR's falling inflation rate of about 6 per cent. Since the Hong Kong Monetary Authority forced up overnight interest rates from about 10 per cent to 300 per cent on October 23, the Hong Kong interbank offered rate has stayed high, rising steadily from about 9 to 13.4 per cent by the end of the week. This has been passed on to time deposit rates which have risen from about 6.5 per cent in June to more than 9 per cent. The spot market head at the Bank of East Asia, Carlos Cheung, said: 'We've been seeing a lot of people changing their savings accounts or even foreign exchange accounts into time deposits. 'Some are bargaining for higher rates saying that if we give them a high enough rate, they will convert all their holdings into Hong Kong dollars.' Kwong On Bank, with a rate of 9.25 per cent for one-month Hong Kong dollar deposits on Friday, tops the list, while amongst the big banks the Bank of East Asia is offering 8.8 per cent. 'Ever since we've been offering these high interest rates, we've seen a very positive increase in new accounts,' Pierre Au, a senior manager at Kwong On Bank said. 'We're seeing less switching within our banks into time deposits from savings accounts than new accounts being opened. 'It's partly because some people are shifting their accounts from the bigger banks, which haven't raised their rates much.' Wing Lung Bank deposit department manager Tong Sik-bun said there had been people opting for US dollar accounts fearing the peg would be removed, but this was overshadowed by those attracted by the high interest rates into local currency deposits. Bankers believe their customers preference for shorter term accounts reflects concerns about the strength of the currency. Some banks, including Hongkong Bank, Hang Seng Bank and Bank of East Asia, have banned depositors from breaking time deposits before the account matures.