01.03.03. Public and private debt | Hong Kong SAR

01.03.03. Public and private debt | Hong Kong SAR

16 Aug 2022

For public debt, in the first quarter of 2019, the Gross External Debt (ED) on Hong Kong (measuring total outstanding gross external liabilities other than equity liabilities) was $12,695.3 billion, which was equivalent to 4.4 times of GDP. The components of ED were attributable to the banking sector (62.0%), other sectors (22.4%) (consisting of 73.2% long-term and 26.8% short-term liabilities), and debt liabilities in direct investment (intercompany lending) (15.4%). ED of the Government amounted to $26.7 billion, of which nearly all was long-term liabilities. This was attributable to non-residents’ holdings of debt securities issued by the Government. ED of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority amounted to $3.4 billion, of which 81.3% ($2.8 billion) was long-term liabilities of Exchange Fund Notes (Census and Statistics Department, 2019a).

For private debt, residential mortgage lending constitutes the major proportion of household loans in Hong Kong, while the remainder comprises personal loans such as unsecured lending through credit card and other private purposes. The growth in household loans accelerated from 3.9% in the second half of 2018 to 6.7% in the first half of 2019. It was driven by a stable growth in residential mortgage loans and a strong growth in loans for other private purposes in private banking and wealth management customers, which were secured by various financial assets (i.e., stocks, mutual funds, and insurance policies). With household debt growing faster than the nominal GDP, the household debt-to-GDP ratio rose to 75.5% in the second quarter of 2019 (Hong Kong Monetary Authority, 2019).


Census and Statistics Department. (2019a). Balance of Payments, International Investment Position and External Debt Statistics of Hong Kong (First Quarter 2019). Hong Kong: Census and Statistics Department, HKSAR. Retrieved from https://www.statistics.gov.hk/pub/B10400012019QQ01B0100.pdf

Hong Kong Monetary Authority. (2019). Half-Yearly Monetary & Financial Stability Report (September 2019). Hong Kong Retrieved from https://www.hkma.gov.hk/media/eng/publication-and-research/quarterly-bulletin/qb201909/E_Half-yearly_201909.pdf.