Date
20 August 2018

HKEJ Today: Highlights

Following is a summary of major news and comments in the Hong Kong Economic Journal, the parent publication of EJ Insight, on Tuesday, Oct. 8:

TOP STORIES

Sun Hung Kai leads in offering price cuts, subsidies in luxury residential market

Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. (00016.HK) has cut the prices of its luxury apartments at Cullinan above Kowloon Station, and offered a 70 percent subsidy for the the buyer’s stamp duty, to lure demand. The move, which is estimated to have attracted HK$90 million (US$11.61 million) in deposits from over 300 orders, came as the government insisted on keeping an array of property curbs to suppress speculation in the market. Certain property investors have placed a combined 50 orders using newly established companies, according to market sources. Analysts expect competition will grow fiercer in the sale of property units costing about HK$10 million to HK$30 million each.

Country Garden management allegedly leaks price sensitive information to staff

The management of Country Garden Holdings Co. Ltd. (02007.HK) is reportedly involved in a suspected insider dealing case, according to information obtained by the HKEJ. An internal message allegedly sent by president Mo Bin {莫斌} noted that the company has generated 18.5 billion yuan (US$3.02 billion) in contract sales during the National Day holiday, sending the total amount since the beginning of this year to a record 109.5 billion yuan. The company’s shares have surged as much as 3 percent in the afternoon trading session on Monday, with transaction volume of the day jumping to HK$56.93 million. Its major shareholder and vice chairman Yang Huiyan {楊惠妍} last Tuesday increased her stake in the company by purchasing 5.7 million shares for a combined HK$28 million.

ECONOMY AND BUSINESS

Consultative body formed to advise HK govt on trade relations with mainland

The Consultative Committee on Economic and Trade Co-operation has been formed to advise the Hong Kong government on economic and trade cooperation between the city and the mainland, with an aim to study the implications of the Nansha, Hengqin and Qianhai areas on Hong Kong. It will also look into how the city can capitalize on development opportunities and facilitate domestic enterprise growth on the mainland. Jack So has been named chairman for two years, while Henry Cheng and Joseph Lee will be deputy chairmen, with 23 non-official members. The government will, meanwhile, liaise with authorities in the Shanghai free trade zone to see how Hong Kong could contribute, said Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam.

Market players support HK ban on listing under partnership structure, Chan says

Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Chan Ka-keung has backed the securities watchdog in banning Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. from a Hong Kong listing under a partnership structure, saying the market in general recognizes the authority’s stance in such a prohibition. The event has spurred concerns from lawmakers on whether there is a conflict of interest in the role of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd. (00388.HK), the city’s bourse operator, in approving listing applications. Chan is due to attend a Legislative Council meeting to answer lawmakers’ questions on Wednesday.

LME sees dual headquarters as advantageous in entering mainland markets

The London Metal Exchange (LME) is tapping its headquarters in Hong Kong to expand businesses in mainland China and other markets in Asia, said chief executive Garry Jones. The company’s dual-headquarters structure has made the exchange unique from other rivals, Jones said, adding that the data center and other market infrastructure provided by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd. (00388.HK), its parent company, significantly help the metal bourse in opening new markets. Meanwhile, Hong Kong bourse chief executive Charles Li said LME, which is planning to launch futures contracts of coking coal and iron ore, has accrued a level of international liquidity that mainland competitors cannot match.

POLITICS

ICAC drops request for records from magazine in Lew Mon-hung case

Hong Kong’s graft-buster has dropped a court request to secure records of a magazine interview with businessman Lew Mon-hung, which has been charged with perverting the course of justice, after the government lawyer was challenged by the judge on the justification for their request. Mr Justice Thomas Au Hing-cheung asked why the ICAC insisted on such a confirmation when the magazine’s chief editor had already affirmed its staff “had complied with professional journalism … and reflected the true content of the interview”. Lew made claims Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying had promised to award him for his support in the chief executive election. The ICAC had earlier dropped a similar request for Commercial Radio to provide records of an interview. Hong Kong Journalists Association criticized the ICAC move as an infringement to press freedom.

Group plans to stage protest over APEC revocation of HK reporters’ media passes

The Hong Kong Journalists Association will stage a protest at the Philippine and Indonesian consulates in Hong Kong over the revocation of media passes of four Hong Kong journalists who covered the APEC summit in Bali. The journalists from three media organizations, namely now TV, Commercial Radio and RTHK, were accused of “screaming” at Philippine President Benigno Aquino. APEC media center officials said the reporters posed a security threat to Aquino. The HKJA and the Hong Kong News Executives’ Association have demanded that APEC authorities return the passes to the journalists immediately.

EDITORIAL

Xi hints at discontent over US push for TPP in APEC speech

Chinese President Xi Jinping told a conference on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum on Monday that the regional body should play a bigger role in regional economic development. He said China has an open mind and supports any fair and transparent mechanism which aims to promote multilateral trade that is conducive to economic integration in the region. His remarks show Beijing’s discontent with the approach of the United States in bulldozing the talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pact.

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