Bank of China Hong Kong launched its initial public offering in Hong Kong in July, becoming the first big four bank to sell shares to foreign investors. Bankers said the public sale was oversubscribed by 25 times. The bank priced the issue at HK$8.50 a share for institutional investors with a 5 per cent discount for retail buyers, raising US$2.5bn. The bank planned to expand the retail portion of the deal to 35 per cent from 10 per cent because of the strength of retail demand.
Bank of China Hong Kong is the SAR's second largest bank by assets. In 2001 it reported non-performing loans as representing 10.9 per cent of total lending, more than double the Hong Kong average at that time. This was later cut to 8.99 per cent when it sold some of the loans to its parent in China. China's exports totalled US$26.0bn in June, 17.8 per cent higher than in the same month last year, and imports stood at US$23.1bn, 8.6 per higher, according to Chinese Customs figures. The percentage increases in May were 18.4 and 19.3 per cent respectively. June's trade surplus of US$2.92bn was US$0.72bn greater than in May.
Exports for the first half of 2002 rose by 14.1 per cent to US$142.06bn, while imports rose by 10.4 per cent to reach US$128.65bn. The US was China's largest export market, but its biggest trading partner was Japan.