Hong Kong's banks warn that the cost of borrowing may rise this year as the U.S. Federal Reserve links the unemployment level with its short-term interest rate policy.
The unemployment rate in the US serves as a tangible measure for those monitoring the timing of policy change.
Benjamin Hung Pi-cheng, the Hong Kong Association of Banks' newly elected chairman says that corporate borrowers could tide over their current interest rate with a swap or change their policy to fixed rates from floating rates to help minimise the risk of an increase.
Hung, also the chief executive of Standard Chartered in Hong Kong, says the top priority for the banking association this year was to strengthen Hong Kong's position as the top offshore renminbi business centre, part of a continuing attempt to promote the use of the Chinese currency internationally.
"Lenders in Hong Kong will continue to improve the width, depth, and quality of the offshore renminbi business, such as trade settlement, investment, the capital pool and the adoption of reserve currency by other central banks," says Hung.
Hung notes that trade settlement in yuan accounts for about 12 percent of overall global business, offering plenty of growth potential in terms of size and popularity among different countries.