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Hong Kong dollar firms to 7.7980 per dollar, strongest in 5 months

HONG KONG, Dec 12 (Reuters) - The Hong Kong dollar strengthened to 7.7980 per dollar on Thursday, its strongest since July 8.

Hong Kong's currency is pegged to the greenback at a tight range of 7.75-7.85 per dollar and the city's monetary policy moves in lock-step with the United States.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority said on Thursday that the U.S. Federal Reserve's overnight decision to keep the policy rate unchanged was expected by the market, and that Hong Kong's foreign exchange and money markets continue to operate smoothly.

Some analysts had attributed Hong Kong dollar gains earlier in the week to the unwinding of bets previously profiting from 'carry trades' - borrowing with low interest rates in Hong Kong to purchase U.S. dollar assets. (Reporting by Donny Kwok and Noah Sin; Editing by Kim Coghill)