HONG Kong dollar deposits recorded strong growth of 15 per cent in November, the result of three flotations and the flow of foreign capital into the buoyant local market. Removing the effect of large flotations, which has distorted the real deposit growth picture, economists detect signs that sluggish Hong Kong dollar deposit growth is slowly picking up. The three flotations - Kunming Machine Tool, Consolidated Electric Power Asia and Esprit - tied up $181.9 billion in application money. The growth in deposits contrasts with the 0.9 per cent recorded in September and 11.7 per cent in October, according to Hong Kong Monetary Authority statistics. Demand deposits fell by 29.8 per cent during November, due to the refunding of application monies for a share issue launched in late October. ''The application monies of Maanshan Iron and Steel were put in demand deposit in late October. That accounts for the drastic fall in November when the monies were released,'' said Priscilla Chiu, senior economist in the Monetary Authority. Savings deposits dropped by 0.3 per cent. The main growth area was in time deposits, which increased by 38 per cent. The year-on-year growth of total deposits was 48.8 per cent. ''Companies can always choose between putting the subscription monies as either time or demand deposits,'' she said. Consistent with this, the broadest Hong Kong dollar money supply, M3, rose substantially in the month to $1.07 trillion, up 14 per cent after a 10.7 per cent increase in October. Although distorted by the flotations, economists believe that Hong Kong dollar deposits are increasing slowly. ''If we deduct the subscription monies from the figure, we can still see some growth,'' Ms Chiu said. Economists estimated that the growth rate was about three to five per cent. ''One reason for this growth is the inflow of foreign funds which was apparent in November,'' Ms Chiu said. Another economist attributed the increase to banks' efforts to compete for more stable deposits and depositors switching from foreign currencies to Hong Kong dollars. Foreign currency deposits in November declined by 0.2 per cent, after a decrease of 2.1 per cent in September and an increase of 1.6 per cent in October. Loan figures in November were also obscured by the flotations. The amount lent in Hong Kong dollars rose by 10 per cent. Many of these loans were used to pay for share subscriptions. One economist said that stripping away the loan amount for new share financing, Hong Kong dollar loan growth should still rise moderately in line with the rebound in mortgage loans. Total outstanding loans and advances, including foreign currency loans, increased by 3.6 per cent, following increases of 0.01 per cent in September and 0.6 per cent in October. Loans to pay for Hong Kong's visible trade continued to drop. The figure fell by 0.1 per cent in November after decreases of 0.8 per cent in September and 0.1 per cent in October. But year-on-year, the amount lent grew by 17 per cent. The amount lent for other purposes in Hong Kong increased steadily. It rose by 8.6 per cent in November, following increases of 1.2 per cent in September and 5.2 per cent in October. Year-on-year, the amount increased by 32.1 per cent.