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The following is issued on behalf of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority:
 
     The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced today (March 18) the composite interest rate at the end of February 2021. (Note 1)
      
     The composite interest rate, which is a measure of the average cost of funds of banks, decreased by 1 basis point to 0.23 per cent at the end of February 2021, from 0.24 per cent at the end of January 2021 (see Chart 1 in the Annex). The decrease in composite interest rate mainly reflected a decrease in the weighted funding cost for deposits during the month (see Chart 2 in the Annex). (Note 2)
      
     The historical data of the composite interest rate from the end of the fourth quarter of 2003 to the end of February 2021 are available in the Monthly Statistical Bulletin on the HKMA website (www.hkma.gov.hk).
 
Note 1: The composite interest rate is a weighted average interest rate of all Hong Kong dollar interest-rate-sensitive liabilities, which include deposits from customers, amounts due to banks, negotiable certificates of deposit and other debt instruments, and all other liabilities that do not involve any formal payment of interest but the values of which are sensitive to interest rate movements (such as Hong Kong dollar non-interest bearing demand deposits) on the books of banks. Data from retail banks, which account for about 90 per cent of the total customers’ deposits in the banking sector, are used in the calculation. It should be noted that the composite interest rate represents only average interest expenses. There are various other costs involved in the making of a loan, such as operating costs (e.g. staff and rental expenses), credit cost and hedging cost, which are not covered by the composite interest rate.

Note 2: Since June 2019, the composite interest rate and weighted deposit rate have been calculated based on the new local “Interest rate risk in the banking book” (IRRBB) framework. As such, these figures are not strictly comparable with those of previous months.