Hong Kong claims to have won backing from Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation economies in its campaign to develop Asia's bond markets. Secretary for the Treasury Denise Yue Chung-yee told a meeting of finance ministers that a mature bond market could help prevent a recurrence of the regional meltdown. Ms Yue said: 'Top of the Hong Kong list is the need for a deep and liquid Asian bond market.' She said many Asian banks and companies were caught by the downturn because their borrowing did not match their needs in terms of the maturity of the instrument and the denomination of the debt. Many of the banks borrowed short - for long-term debt - and in foreign currencies from overseas investors. Devaluations and the calling-in of debts triggered serious financing problems for the borrowers. Ms Yue said: 'What should have been a liquidity problem turned into a massive insolvency crisis.' Her case was backed by officials from banks, insurance and brokerage firms who also argued that the ability to tap into efficient bond markets would increase options for emerging economies and help them to hedge against huge fluctuations in market and economic conditions. The Apec Financiers' Group said it would 'focus on measures needed as part of the longer-term development of bond markets, rather than immediate confidence-building efforts.' The Hong Kong Monetary Authority regularly pushes the case for a regional bond market denominated in an Asian currency, such as the Hong Kong dollar or the yen. Policy initiatives developed by the authority to prepare for the markets include the development of a real-time clearance and settlement system and introduction of long-maturity bonds. Ms Yue said she had received strong support from Taiwan and the Asian Development Bank. 'At the end of the day it will arise from the acceptance of the idea by other Asian economies. Unfortunately, things take time.'