Cash is king amid pandemic, say Hongkongers

Finance | Staff reporter and Reuters 26 Jan 2021

Hongkongers have increased their cash holdings and become more reserved in investments amid the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the HSBC FinFit Study.

Conducted in September and October in 2020, the survey spanned 1,507 respondents aged between 18 and 64.

Two out of three respondents said their cash holdings were adequate to support basic living expenses for six months, even without any income.

Amid the current difficult times, however, Hongkongers are keeping 66 percent of their liquid assets in cash or savings - up 3 percentage points from the previous survey in June 2020.

Despite a willingness to invest about a third of their available funds, only less than half of the respondents count on investment products to grow their net worth.

Meanwhile, FTLife Insurance's survey founded that 70 percent of respondents said they lack confidence in retirement due to the pandemic. The survey interviewed 405 working adults aged 20 or above.

Separately, global life insurers are taking steps to curb payouts stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, including long-term health consequences that are not fully understood, industry sources told Reuters.

Life insurers, including Prudential Financial and Aviva, are now imposing waiting periods before COVID-19 patients, including those who have recovered, can apply for coverage, executives and spokespeople said. Some are also limiting coverage for certain age groups.

These changes come as some reinsurers demand new safeguards from life insurers they backstop, and as the industry struggles to ascertain the extent of problems caused by the novel coronavirus.

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