23 August 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, March 14:


China unlikely to bolster growth with short-term stimulus

The Chinese government is unlikely to adopt easing measures to boost the economy anytime soon despite further weakness in recent data. Premier Li Keqiang {李克強} said he sees no reason why the country cannot repeat last year’s success in achieving growth target without any short-term stimulus. The remark came as the annual National People’s Congress session concluded in Beijing Thursday. Latest data on retail sales and industrial value-added output released Thursday showed multi-year weakness, prompting more economists to revise downward their forecasts for China’s growth this year to levels below the 7.5 percent target.

Ricky Wong seeks public debate with authorities over mobile TV broadcasting

Ricky Wong, chairman of Hong Kong Television Network Ltd. (01137.HK), urged authorities to openly discuss with him the reasons why his network is not allowed to transmit mobile television signals by DTMB method, the same way that the two free television broadcasting companies are using. If he doesn’t get proper answer, he will apply for a judicial review in one to two weeks. Meanwhile, Joseph Wong, former Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, wrote in a newspaper column that the existing regulations do have loopholes that can be taken advantage of. However, the government may not lose its case should there be any litigation, he said.

No evidence of HIBOR manipulation, report says

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s probe into the city’s interbank offer rates, or HIBOR, shows no evidence of manipulation by lenders, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. A spokesperson for the banking watchdog told HKEJ that the authority is going all out to finish the investigation. The result of the investigation, which has lasted for over a year, may be announced Friday, but it is still uncertain whether any lenders have engaged in other misconduct in the setting of the benchmark lending rates, the Journal report said.


Former top judge says police chief comment on editor attack premature

Former chief justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang said it was too early for the police commissioner to say there was no direct evidence suggesting the brutal attack against former Ming Pao chief editor Kevin Lau was not related to journalistic work. Li pointed out that the investigation is still ongoing. He said some cases in the past two years have raised public concerns about the erosion of freedoms. Li called on people to be vigilant over threats to freedoms and urged them to be ready to defend the city’s core values.

Pan-democrats urged to join Shanghai trip for reform talk

Pan-democratic legislators who have said they would not join a trip to Shanghai have been urged to rethink their decision. Constitutional affairs minister Raymond Tam also revealed that the central government might arrange officials in charge of political reform to attend exchange session with the lawmakers. He urged the pan-democrats to seize the opportunity to forge dialogue with the mainland officials. Chairwoman of the Democratic Party, Emily Lau, reiterated that she would not join the trip. Other Democrats would decide later after details of the trip were available.


Weak data boosts chance of bank reserve requirement cut

Macro-economic data on investment, consumption and industrial production for February, which were all below market expectation, have pointed to further slowing of China’s economy. Following the poor data, the possibility of a reduction in the bank reserve requirement ratio has increased. Such move will help protect the real economy from the adverse impact of higher interest rates and a liquidity squeeze.

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