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Activist Investor Bill Ackman Bets on the Hong Kong Dollar, But Should You?

Hong Kong Dollar bills featuring an image of the Bank of China Building. There are growing calls for an end to the peg with the U.S. dollar.
Tim Graham | Getty Images
Hong Kong Dollar bills featuring an image of the Bank of China Building. There are growing calls for an end to the peg with the U.S. dollar.

The Hong Kong dollar has been in the spotlight since investor Bill Ackman announced he had taken a big long position in the currency. Whether you should is another matter.

The euro has been in everyone's sights for so long that it was almost a relief when activist investor Bill Ackman announced he was taking a big long position in the Hong Kong dollar. And of course the obvious question is then whether this makes sense for average investors too.

Ackman is arguing that the Federal Reserve is likely to push interest rates down even further, and because that policy doesn't work in Hong Kong's high growth-high inflation economy, they will let their currency float against the greenback and it will rise.

But "Bill could be wrong," at least short term, says Rebecca Patterson, chief markets strategist for J.P. Morgan Asset Management, Institutional. "The Hong Kong dollar is primarily a Chinese currency now, and China likes the stability. The peg has been there since 1972 and it's been there for a reason," she told CNBC's Melissa Lee.

Ackman's trade could ultimately work out, Patterson says, "but it's not a trade I would suggest for average investors."

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