HONG KONG: Offshore Banking Inquiries Spike.

As published on finews.asia, Tuesday 9 June, 2020.

HSBC and Standard Chartered were reportedly amongst the lenders experiencing a significant increase in offshore banking inquiries from Hong Kong residents.

The two British lenders both registered a 25-30 percent jump in inquiries, according to a «Reuters» report citing two unnamed sources who observed increased demand for offshore accounts. Another two sources noted that while there have been no large outflows in the last two weeks, the increased inquiries is slowing banks’ response time for account opening which can now take at least one month.

Popular offshore banking locations in include Singapore, U.K., Sydney and Taiwan, the report added while also citing Citi amongst lenders that observed increased demand.

Spokespersons from all three banks claimed to have observed no significant capital outflow.

Deteriorating U.S.-China relations and increasing tightening by Beijing is driving more and more concerns about the need to diversify holdings and booking centers. According to another source, recently observed demand represents the second wave of offshore account opening after the first one following anti-government protests in June last year.

«What I’m worried about the most is I might not be able to freely exchange Hong Kong dollar anymore if the U.S. decided to sanction Hong Kong,» the report added, citing a middle-aged resident who diversified 70 percent of her savings into U.S. dollar and British pounds while now seeking an offshore account.

«If things get messy here I might not even be able to transfer my money out in the worst-case scenario, so it’s good to diversify risks.»

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