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Hong Kong Leader Says City's Financial Systems Not 'Undermined,' While GDP Sinks To The Lowest In Decade

The "strengths and resilience" of Hong Kong's financial systems "have not been undermined" in spite of geopolitical and domestic unrest facing the Chinese autonomous region, or so the city's Chief Executive Carrie Lam told Asian Fin

Benzinga · 01/13/2020 09:25

The "strengths and resilience" of Hong Kong's financial systems "have not been undermined" in spite of geopolitical and domestic unrest facing the Chinese autonomous region, or so the city's Chief Executive Carrie Lam told Asian Financial Forum on Monday.

What Happened

"Through the concerted efforts of the government and the people of Hong Kong, I am confident that we will bridge our divide," Lam said during her address, as reported by the South China Morning Post.

"If we cannot direct the wind, we can surely adjust our sails," the leader said, acknowledging the rough terrain facing the Hong Kong economy, the SCMP reported.
Lam also said that the Asian Economies would surpass the rest of the world combined, adjusted for purchasing power parity, describing it as a "quantum leap" compared to a few decades before, according to the SCMP.

The leader claimed that the Hong Kong administration had been "busy making the most of Hong Kong's manifold advantages" by forging connections between businesses, investors, and financial markets amid "large and alarming" geopolitical concerns, the SCMP noted.

Why It Matters

Lam's comments come at a time when Hong Kong's economy continues to suffer from anti-government protests that sparked in June last year following a proposed bill that would allow the extradition of Hong Kongers to mainland China.

The bill was recalled in October, but the protests have continued over a host of other issues. They have now also gripped the British bank HSBC Holdings plc (NYSE: HSBC), which the protestors accused of supporting the Hong Kong government by closing down their accounts. Hong Kong and China make up for the largest share of HSBC's revenue.
The trade deal between the United States and China, which suffered significant setbacks throughout the year, and yet remains to be signed, also didn't help the city's economic prospects.

According to the International Monetary Fund, Hong Kong's economy contracted by 1.9% in 2019. The city's government puts a less modest number at 1.3%, which would still be its worst performance in a decade.

Price Action

The Hang Sang Index traded up by 1.11% at 28,954.94, as investors anticipate the U.S.-China trade deal expected by signed later this week.

Photo Credit: Iris Tong via Wikimedia