HONG KONG'S fixed-income market fell in sympathy with US weakness, and the Wardley Hong Kong Bond Index ended on Monday at 98.27 points, down 41 basis points from September's close. Hong Kong's interest rates were further hit by a widening in the differential between US and Hong Kong rates, according to the index. Bankers said they expected Hong Kong interest rates to consolidate over the next few weeks. 'Nothing much will happen before the result of congressional elections in the United States and the Federal Open Market Committee meeting in two weeks' time,' said one banker. 'People are building in expectation that the Federal Reserve will lift rates by 75 to 100 basis points,' he said, predicting a rally if the rate rise was at least 75 basis points, but selling if the rise was only 50 basis points. A 75 basis point rise probably would mark the last increase before the end of the first quarter of next year, because the US market usually consolidated towards the end of the year, he said. The Fed has increased rates five times since February, pushing the rate banks charge each other for loans from three per cent to 4.75 per cent, leading to a prime rate of 7.75 per cent. In Hong Kong, the prime rate has moved from 6.5 per cent to 7.75 per cent.