Date
11 December 2017

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 Wednesday, March 5:

TOP STORIES

HKEx to launch mainland commodities contracts in second half

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd. (00388.HK) is planning to launch in the second half of this year renminbi-denominated deliverable commodities contracts that trade mainland metals and energy products, targeting international investors who are interested in the mainland market. HKEx chief executive Charles Li said such businesses can be run through licensing from mainland counterparts, and that a similar mechanism can be used for introducing contracts originally traded in its subsidiary London Metal Exchange.

Henderson’s Peter Lee calls on business bodies to run opinion polls

Henderson Land Development Co. Ltd. (00012.HK) vice-chairman Peter Lee has suggested that major local business chambers jointly form a polling research institute to counter the influence of polls run by Robert Chung, director of public opinion program at the University of Hong Kong. The remarks were made as Zhang Dejiang {張德江}, chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, met with Hong Kong and Macau members of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, including Lee, in Beijing. Lee accused Chung of frequently revealing polling results dominated by dissenting opinions in critical moments, laying the ground for opponents to reject certain government policy proposals.

Li expected to pinpoint need for stable economy in first work report

Analysis: Premier Li Keqiang {李克強} is expected to stress the need to maintain national growth within a reasonable range while strengthening domestic consumption as a key economic driver as he delivers his first government work report on Wednesday. The report is also likely to touch upon decentralization, fiscal and financial reforms, and increased efforts to develop the Shanghai free-trade zone, as well as agricultural modernization.

POLITICS

NPC head urges Hong Kong advisors to speak up on reform row

Chairman of China’s National People’s Congress, Zhang Dejiang, has urged a group of Hong Kong deputies of the nation’s top advisory body to speak up to condemn deeds and words that cause chaos in the city. At a meeting with Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference delegates, Zhang said they should take initiatives to rebuke erroneous views about universal suffrage. Hong Kong has high degree of autonomy, not full autonomy, he said, reminding that Beijing is still vested with powers on things such as foreign affairs, defence and the appointment of chief executive.

Government long-term fiscal report wrong in assumption, conclusion, Lam says

A former Executive Council member, Franklin Lam, yesterday criticized a report on Hong Kong’s long-term fiscal plan as wrong in both its assumption and conclusion. Lam, who is seen as supporter of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, said he hopes the report will not be used as an excuse for the government not to do anything. The report was compiled by a task force appointed by Financial Secretary John Tsang. Analysts said the report has again exposed the differences between Leung and Tsang over fiscal management.

EDITORIAL

No harm in having more public opinion polls

Yesterday’s call by Vice-chairman of Henderson Land Development Peter Lee Ka-kit for the launching of independent polls on political issues is basically a good thing as it would provide more references to people. But it is unfair to criticize the poll conducted by the University of Hong Kong pollster Robert Chung on the grounds that they have come out with negative results about the government. Like the numbers at public rallies, different bodies may come up with different estimates. The public could always decide on their own which is more credible.

COMMENTS

China the only winner in Ukraine turmoil, Lam says

Citing an article by University of London professor A. Lieven, HKEJ founder Lam Hang-chi wrote that China might be the only one which emerges as winner in the political turmoil in Ukraine. Like the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, major powers will be occupied if Ukraine is locked in war. Major powers will be able to contain China’s activities in the East China Sea. Russia will also have to rely more on China politically and economically if it is involved in a major war in Ukraine.

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