26 February 2020

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 Thursday, April 17:


Jury out on added through-train volumes, HKEx chairman says

It is hard to estimate how much daily transaction volumes will rise on the Hong Kong stock exchange with the arrival of the newly approved cross-border “through train” scheme, which will let individuals trade shares listed in the city and Shanghai, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd. (00388.HK) chairman Chow Chung-kong said. Chow said the 10.5 billion yuan (US$1.69 billion) daily quota for transactions flowing into Hong Kong will be gauged on a net-balance basis. The Hong Kong bourse might also run a similar program with the Shenzhen stock exchange down the track, Chow added.

China growth hits 18-month low at 7.4% in 1Q

China posted 7.4 percent year-on-year growth for the first quarter, the lowest in 18 months yet slightly above the market average estimate of 7.3 percent. Premier Li Keqiang {李克強} said the figure fell within a “reasonable” range. Growth in industrial added value and investment during the period both came in below market expectations, with consumption rising at a faster pace, contributing a bigger portion to the overall growth. Economists expect second-quarter growth to be stable, given a robust recovery in the United States could boost China’s outbound trade.

Govt told in March high-speed rail project on track 

Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung said MTR Corp. (00066.HK) told the government at the end of last month that the construction of the high-speed rail link between Hong Kong and the mainland was still on track for completion next year. Cheung insisted the government has not kept the public in dark on the project’s delay. Meanwhile, the rail operator said it has no plan to ask the government any time soon for a bigger budget, which is now capped at HK$66.9 billion (US$8.63 billion).


Carrie Lam attacks lawmakers for govt budget filibuster

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor yesterday lambasted legislators for a filibuster over the passage of the 2014/2015 budget, which was expected to go into effect in two weeks. She expressed deep regret that radical legislators have stepped up their efforts on the front after a similar marathon attempt last year. Lam also made a rare criticism of legislators over the high number of written questions they submitted on the budget. She said she was concerned about the wealth of resources the authorities would have to deploy at the expense of other matters to answer the roughly 6,700 written questions.

Legislator floats two-round nomination plan for CE race

Interview: The head of the pro-government Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong has proposed a two-round nominating process for the 2017 chief executive election. Tam Yiu-chung suggested that any person could become a nominee with the support of one-eighth of the nominating committee. He or she could become a formal candidate if more than half of the members endorsed the nominee in the second round, Tam said. He also proposed expanding the nominating committee by 400 members to 1,600. 


Risk of further China growth slowdown still in play

China’s gross domestic product grew 7.4 percent in the first quarter from the same period last year, easing from 7.7 percent expansion in the last quarter of 2013. The effect of investment on economic growth has weakened and consumption has been constrained by slow growth in wages. Although the government rolled out mini-stimulus measures in the first quarter, the downward pressure on the economy remains strong. The risk of a further slowdown in growth should not be ruled out. The central government might have to relax its monetary policy and cut the reserve requirement ratio if the economy shows no improvement in the second quarter.

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