20 January 2019

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 Friday, Feb. 28:


Paul Chan blames MTR for missing land supply target

Hong Kong’s Secretary for Development Paul Chan has criticized MTR Corp. Ltd. (00066.HK) for being unable to successfully tender any residential projects along the railway over the past three years, contributing to the government’s failure in meeting its land supply target. The rare remark came as the government unveiled its land supply plan for the coming fiscal year. A total of 30,000 home units are expected to come from the land to be sold or tendered by the government, the railway operator and other private sources during the year, Chan noted.

HK securities watchdog seeks to ban individuals from dark pools

Hong Kong is planning to ban all individual investors from participating in alternative trading venues, also known as dark pools, according to a consultation document from the Securities and Futures Commission. Under the new regulation, only institutional investors can transact in dark pools. The watchdog’s chief executive Ashley Alder said the new rules are aimed at striking a balance between investor protection and market need. The authority, however, may relax the rules in the future to allow limited participation for individuals.

Market eyes new growth target at upcoming top China meeting

Interview: New growth target and detailed plans for pushing forward the national reform will be in focus as top Chinese leaders gear up for a key meeting in Beijing next month, said Lu Ting {陸挺}, chief economist for Greater China at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch. The growth target is expected to stand at 7.5 percent, with a 13 percent expansion limit on broad money supply growth, Lu noted, adding that the monetary policy stance is likely to remain prudent.


Hong Kong journalists plan anti-violence march on Sunday

Hong Kong journalists plan to stage a march on Sunday to condemn the brutal attack against former Ming Pao chief editor Kevin Lau. Meanwhile, public donations for a reward for information about the attack have reached HK$3 million. Lau, who was in critical condition, has gained consciousness and is recovering, family said in a statement. The statement condemned the use of violence and appealed to the public to come forward if they have information about the culprits.

Lam warns refusal to compromise will result in reform failure

Hong Kong Chief Secretary Carrie Lam has warned that hopes for universal suffrage would falter if people refuse to give concessions to bridge the wide gap in differences. She told a youth forum that some proposals were mere sloganeering without taking into account the reality and the relevant provisions in the Basic Law. Lam said the government has already received more than 2,700 written submissions since public consultation was launched in November, but added the views collected show divisions.


Create new land from reclamation for housing

With the room for housing development in urban areas limited, the Hong Kong government has little choice but to try to seek new land in New Territories by change of land use, which is likely to trigger some dispute. Similarly, the government faces opposition from residents when it changes land originally set aside for community facilities for housing. The most feasible, clear-cut and long-term solution is to create new land for housing through reclamation in some coastal areas.

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