Hang Seng Index prices displayed at the financial Central district in Hong Kong. Photo: Reuters/Tyrone Siu

Hong Kong firms finally started taking a cue from American counterparts this year, with money used for share buybacks reaching US$3.2 billion through July 25, the highest for the period since 2008, reports Bloomberg.

Analysts see the trend continuing over the short term as companies take advantage of lower interest rates while they are still around.

Some see cause for concern as Hong Kong developers fund buybacks because they are being priced out of the property market by larger firms from the mainland. But others note the Hang Seng is trading at 12.4 times 12-month forward earnings, just slightly above its 10-year average, and earnings forecasts are at a two-year high.