Growing savings abroad

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The share of international assets in total banking assets in the local banking sector managed to recover in the first three months of 2017, data released recently by the Monetary Authority of Macau (AMCM) reveals.
As of March 2017, the amount of international assets increased by 7.7 per cent year-on-year to MOP1.21 trillion (US$151.8 billion) while the amount of international liabilities increased 6.6 per cent year-on-year to MOP1.13 trillion (US$142.0 billion).
In the first three months, both international assets and liabilities increased by 3.9 per cent quarter-to-quarter.
The share of international assets in total banking assets increased by 0.6 percentage points quarter-to-quarter to 84.7 per cent, while the share of international liabilities in total banking liabilities went up 0.5 per centre points to 79.2 per cent.

Assets and liabilities breakdown
Within the total international assets, external assets went up 6.2 per cent yearly to MOP883.8 billion, while local assets in foreign currencies went up by 12 per cent to MOP331.7 billion.
At the same time, external non-bank loans – considered a major component of the assets – increased by 6.5 year-on-year to MOP392.6 billion.
Of total international liabilities, local liabilities in foreign currencies registered a considerable yearly increase of 22.3 per cent to MOP592.8 billion, although external liabilities dropped year-on-year by 6.5 per cent to MOP543.8 billion.
Foreign currency deposits held by local residents and the MSAR Government in local banks accounted for a major part of total liabilities, seeing a hike of 18 per cent yearly at the end of March to almost MOP517 billion.

Currency by currency
In terms of currency, at the end of the first three months of this year the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) and U.S. Dollar (USD) accounted for the majority of total international assets, amounting to 42.3 per cent and 45.3 per cent, respectively, and of international liabilities, representing 53.6 per cent and 36.6 per cent, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Renminbi (RMB) represented 6.2 per cent of international assets and 5.1 per cent of international liabilities, while the Pataca (MOP) accounted for only 0.8 per cent and 1.5 per cent share of total international assets and liabilities, respectively.
Other international currencies represented 5.5 per cent of international assets and 3.3 per cent of international liabilities as at the end of March.

Country by country
In terms of region, countries in Asia and Europe comprised the majority of external assets and liabilities.
Claims on Hong Kong and Mainland China accounted for 36.7 per cent and 27.2 per cent of total external assets, respectively, as at the end of March this year. At the same time, claims in the United Kingdom and Portugal accounted for 2.3 per cent and 2 per cent, respectively.
As for external liabilities, Hong Kong and the Mainland accounted for 50.6 per cent and 21.3 per cent, while France and Portugal represented a share of 1 per cent and 0.8 per cent.
Claims on Portuguese-countries and countries part of the ‘One Belt, One Road’ development policy represented 1.1 per cent of external assets and 7 per cent of external liabilities.