Unhappy October

October 12, 2022 10:18
Photo: RTHK

It is important to find something to delight us in October.

Thanks God, the autumn finally arrives and hopefully Hong Kong can walk off from the shadow of Singapore in terms of weather in the next few months.

And the happy faces resurfaced at the Hong Kong International Airport yesterday as people started travelling to Japan, the second home of many Hong Kong people, as travel restrictions have been lifted after more than two years.

So much for the happy news in October, the traditional and most sensitive month linked to stock crash.

No doubt the stock crash has come early and in different shape.

Unlike previous crashes, it dropped at a slower but consistent pace since September due to the worry of rate hike, and all other things such as the dragging Russia-Ukraine war and the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

As such, every asset class – be it equity, bond, gold or property with the exception of US dollar – has dropped and there is no end to the dark tunnel.

Hang Seng Index fell below 17,000 yesterday to an 11-year low. Guess what? It was about the peak in 1997, the year when Hong Kong returned to China 25 years ago.

To make it worse, China is no longer the buzzword for Hong Kong, the self-acclaimed international financial centre which still imposes a “0+3” travel restrictions not seen in other parts of the world, to be consistent with the Beijing’s zero-Covid policy.

Who still wants to hear the story of the Greater Bay Area, which is still blocked after more than two years with little hope of further restriction removal even after the 20th National Congress.

In this light, perhaps it is surprising to read that people in general are happier than four years ago, according to a social enterprise HK.WeCARE.

How can that be? The whole city is still wearing masks and suffering from the lack of tourists. I wonder if the survey included any of the more than 100,000 locals emigrating to other countries in the last two years.

To make us happier, perhaps we need a guidance from Ben Bernanke, former Federal Reserve (2006-2014) chairman who became one of three winners of the Nobel prize in economic sciences this year for his research on banks and financial crises.

The award could not be a better time for Bernanke, who started an era of low interest rate to counter the global recession. No wonder the Wall Street would miss him.

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EJ Insight writer