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Money's getting tighter in China, Hong Kong

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Reuters / File

(Read caption) An employee counts Chinese yuan banknotes at a Bank of China branch in Hefei, Anhui province March 10, 2010. In China and Hong Kong, financial stress is building, writes guest blogger Stefan Karlsson.

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All the interest rate and reserve requirement increases in China seems to finally be having an effect as money supply and bank lending growth slows. By Western standards it is still very high, but by Chinese standards low.

This slowdown is essentially a good thing and will reduce the level of malinvestments. The short-term effect will however be slower growth and will also contribute to lower commodity prices. That is in turn bearish for commodity currencies like the dollars of Australia and Canada.

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Meanwhile, property sales in semi-independent Hong Kong fell sharply after the government raised required down payments. This means that bank lending and money supply growth is likely cooling in Hong Kong as well.

Because of its U.S. dollar peg, Hong Kong is unable to use interest rates to cool down its property market so they instead use regulations that has a similar effect as higher interest rate would have except that this is more specifically targeted at the property market and doesn't cause a currency appreciation.

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