Margin buying of hot initial public offerings will probably push up bank lending to stockbrokers this year. At the end of September, stockbrokers had borrowed $9 billion from banks so customers could buy equities on margin, up 10 per cent from the end of June, according to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. The increase in margin buying is expected to continue, with as many as 100 IPOs forecast to raise up to $100 billion this year. Christfund Securities chairman Christopher Cheung Wah-fung said most stockbrokers were borrowing from banks to finance clients' IPO purchases. Just a few investors were borrowing money to trade stocks in companies already listed, he said. 'The focus is on the IPO market. This will definitely continue this year because many big mainland players are planning to list in Hong Kong in the next few months,' Mr Cheung said. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, many of the 100 firms expected to list in Hong Kong this year will come from the mainland. The $100 billion the companies are forecast to raise would be up 70 per cent from last year - the highest since the dotcom bubble in 2000. The authority's margin loan figures do not include recent months, which saw the listing of popular issues such as Great Wall Automobile Holding, Fujian Zijin Mining Industry and China Life Insurance. Figures for last month could show banks lending record amounts of money to stockbrokers, Mr Cheung said. He said brokers and investors would probably borrow heavily to subscribe to the upcoming IPOs of Ping An Insurance, Air China and China Construction Bank. 'The stock lending activity, however, is likely to decrease this month due to the Lunar New Year, which will slow down the IPO process. We will expect the next IPO frenzy to come in March or April,' Mr Cheung said.