Transcript of remarks by CE at media session before ExCo (with video)

     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Chief Executive, Mr John Lee, at a media session before the Executive Council meeting today (March 21): 

Reporter: Good morning, Mr Lee. Firstly, how would the Government comment on the resilience of the city's banking system amid the banking crisis? Does the Government have anything to mitigate the risks faced by medium-sized banks or to calm the markets, as you won't be attending the Credit Suisse conference as planned that is being held in the city? Secondly, (Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury) Christopher Hui and (Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development) Algernon Yau are visiting the UK (United Kingdom) and the US (United States) soon. Do you see this as an encouraging sign of more engagement with Western countries and also perhaps planning a potential visit by yourself to these countries or also other international conferences?

Chief Executive: Well, the banking system in Hong Kong is very resilient and very properly regulated. I am aware of the crisis, which is being looked at seriously, on Credit Suisse. I know that, and I think it is public information that the UBS has already bought out Credit Suisse, and the Swiss National Bank has already indicated they will be helping, and also there are six central banks that have indicated that they will be providing sufficient US dollar liquidity to the market. The Credit Suisse business and assets in Hong Kong are relatively small. Credit Suisse is in normal business, and we are monitoring the situation. The banking sector is operating smoothly and normally, and the liquidity of the market is also very abundant. Both the HKMA (Hong Kong Monetary Authority) and the SFC (Securities and Futures Commission) are monitoring closely and will be managing the risks. We are in regular communication with the different authorities around the world, so we will be having first-hand information about the situation of the market. We have confidence that the situation is not affecting Hong Kong in a significant way, and we will continue to do our best to monitor the situation. It is important for everybody to know that the adequacy level and the liquidity level of the Hong Kong financial and banking sectors are very healthy and abundant and able to handle the pressure in the market. 

     As regards government officials visiting different places around the world, it has always been the government policy that we are fully connected and in full co-operation with all world markets, in developing our business, our economy and maintaining close links. So officials will definitely be going out of Hong Kong to visit different places, whether it is in western countries, Asian countries, and Mainland cities, we will be actively going out. As I have said, we will be creating extra opportunities for business, for commercial relationships and also enhance our bonding with different countries.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Tuesday, March 21, 2023
Issued at HKT 12:35