26 October 2016
A single HSBC HK$150 note is being priced at 1,600 yuan on Taobao. Photo: Xinhua
A single HSBC HK$150 note is being priced at 1,600 yuan on Taobao. Photo: Xinhua

Speculation drives surge in prices of HSBC HK$150 banknotes

Some of the lucky applicants allotted HSBC’s HK$150 banknotes are offering them online for as much as five times what they cost — before even taking delivery.

The speculators moved into action soon after HSBC released the results of the ballot for subscribers to its commemorative HK$150 issue on its website at midnight Tuesday, Singtao Daily reported Wednesday.

HSBC offered the HK$150 notes in three different packages. Single notes were priced at HK$380 (US$49) each. An uncut sheet of three notes cost HK$1,380. A set of 35 notes in uncut sheets was priced at HK$23,880.

The three-in-one sets are now being offered for sale online in Hong Kong at HK$6,800, more than five times the subscription price.

In the mainland, a single note is being priced at 1,600 yuan (HK$1,997 or US$258) on Taobao, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s flagship customer-to-customer e-commerce website.

Someone has already sold a three-in-one set for 3,500 yuan, despite not yet having it in hand.

A 35-in-one set is being offered at 55,000 yuan.

Media reported earlier that the single notes were oversubscribed by four times, and that the demand for the three-in-one sets was 21 times what was being offered. The 35-in-1 sets were the most coveted, being oversubscribed by 63 times.

HSBC said successful subscribers need to pay for the notes before May 7.

Hong Kong Numismatic Society president Ma Tak-wo was quoted as saying the recent sharp rise in Hong Kong stock prices will provide impetus to speculation in the commemorative banknotes.

He estimates that the value of a single note could rise to between HK$800 and HK$900, while the three-in-one set could fetch between HK$4,000 and HK$5,000, and the 35-in-one set between HK$40,000 and HK$50,000.

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