The Hong Kong Interbank Offered Rate (Hibor) rose across the curve on Thursday, with investors scrambling for cash ahead of the world’s biggest initial public offering of the year at a time of tight liquidity in the domestic market. Brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (AB InBev) is seeking to raise up to US$9.8 billion by listing its Asia-Pacific business in Hong Kong this month. On Thursday, the one-month and two-week tenors shot up to 2.99 per cent and 3.53 per cent, respectively, their highest since October 2008, while two-month and three-month Hibor reached their highest levels since November of the same year. New York-listed internet giant Alibaba Group Holding is also hoping to raise up to US$20 billion in Hong Kong’s stock market this year, which would be the largest secondary listing globally in seven years. “We haven’t seen such a large IPO for a while, and it is happening during the dividend season when liquidity is usually tight,” said Carie Li, an economist at OCBC Wing Hang Bank, commenting on the AB InBev listing. Analysts from Bank of America Merrill Lynch estimated in May that Hong Kong-listed Chinese companies will need to pay US$55 billion of dividends this year, mostly in June and July. On top of equity market demand, “you also have carry trades squaring their positions,” Li added. A previously wide spread between US and Hong Kong rates led investors to borrow the Hong Kong dollars cheaply to buy higher-yielding US dollar assets in a ‘carry trade’, spurring capital outflows and pressure on the local currency. But that gap by-and-large closed in June. The Hong Kong dollar rose 0.33 per cent against the greenback that month, its largest monthly gain since September 2008. Hibor’s climb lifted the Hong Kong dollar to its strongest since May 2017 on Thursday. The currency was seen at 7.7841 per dollar.