Forty Hong Kong banks began accepting renminbi deposits for the first time, a step toward closer economic ties between the territory and the mainland. It is estimated that there is more than US$8 billion in renminbi within Hong Kong's borders. The new services are part of the Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), signed in June 2003 with the aim of lifting the Hong Kong economy from its recent slump. Renminbi savings accounts will have a higher interest rate than Hong Kong dollar-denominated accounts.
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