Hong Kong Monetary Authority deputy chief executive William Ryback expects new home loans to decline further in the near term due to the climate of interest-rate increases, but he believes homebuyers' confidence will be restored when the situation stabilises. His comments came after the authority released figures that showed the value of new mortgage loans drawn down dropped for the fifth consecutive month last month. New mortgage loans drawn down fell 7.9 per cent to $7.8 billion while new loans approved by lenders slipped 2.1 per cent to $9.6 billion. Meanwhile, Mr Ryback said he expected the differences between China and the United States over the yuan exchange policy to continue as the mainland had its own agenda on the currency regime that did not fully satisfy US demands. However, he did not expect the row to affect the relationship between the two countries or have an impact on Hong Kong. He said there had not been much evidence of hot money inflows to speculate on the appreciation of the yuan and affect the Hong Kong dollar recently. The yuan closed at 8.0796 per US dollar yesterday, the highest level since the revaluation of the yuan on July 21, up from 8.0825 previously.