If HK Burns - China Burns


Posted by Ed 3 mths ago
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Concerns over Hong Kong’s political and economic future are growing as pro-democracy protests drag on and turn increasingly violent, and China makes clear that forceful intervention is possible.
An intervention by Chinese troops could seriously damage Hong Kong’s standing as a stable international financial center and a gateway for global capital flowing into the world’s second-largest economy. No other Chinese city, not even Shanghai, could step into that role in the foreseeable future.


While China still has extensive capital controls and often intervenes in its financial markets and banking system, Hong Kong is one of the most open economies in the world and one of the biggest markets for equity and debt financing.

The size of Hong Kong’s economy may only be equivalent to 2.7% of mainland China’s now, down from 18.4% in 1997 when it reverted to Chinese rule, but the territory punches above its weight due to its world-class financial and legal systems.

All that is possible due to its unique system of governance.

Chinese banks hold more assets in Hong Kong — $1.1 trillion in 2018 — than lenders from any other region, according to Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s data compiled by Natixis. That figure equates to roughly 9% of China’s GDP.  


Ed 50 days ago
HONG KONG - There is No Alternative  
The formula for stealing Hong Kong’s mantle is no great mystery. Would-be rivals need to have vibrant, innovative capital markets plus the sort of quality of life that could tempt financial professionals to migrate.
That means a decent level of English proficiency, (though Hong Kong is by no means in the first rank on that criterion); good transport and public services, particularly international schooling; and, ideally, something of the low taxes and cheap domestic help that many residents privately see as essential to feeling affluent in one of the world’s most expensive cities.

A common-law legal system like the one that underpins legal contracts in most English-speaking countries would help, too — but that will only be replicated in places that already have it, like Singapore.

The most important trump card for Hong Kong is something no other city can quite match.

China still needs it — both as its gateway to the world, and as a bolthole for wealthy mainlanders to stash their wealth.
Almost two-thirds of China’s inward and outward foreign investment passes through the territory in some fashion or other.
If anything, that role could grow as China seeks to attract more foreign funds to plug what’s becoming a persistent capital account deficit.
Blocking that conduit could pose risks to the Chinese economy that would dwarf the problems of Hong Kong.

“There is this fundamental view that you can only do business with China if you tiptoe around human rights, fundamental freedoms and civil liberties,” said Anson Chan, the territory’s most senior civil servant for four years either side of the 1997 handover.

“It’s just not true.”

Ed 49 days ago
Hong Kong’s Retail Sales Won’t Recover This Year or Next Year: ING’s Pang

Ed 47 days ago
Compounding the problem, residential home prices are plunging down nearly 27%.   
Adding to the problem:
Hong Kong protests are pushing the city’s commercial property market off a cliff, and sellers are in denial Read More
And:   Hong Kong’s Retail Sales Suffer Worst Drop on Record  Read More 
It would appear that the protesters strategy of 'We Burn - You Burn' by attacking the economy of Hong Kong is closing in on a 'Mission Accomplished' moment.    
Trying to shut down a rebellion that has deep support --- in a key financial centre like Hong Kong --- is not possible  through the barrel of a gun.   That would only serve to accelerate the trajectory towards total implosion.
There must be a negotiated settlement.   And the negotiations need to start soon....

Ed 47 days ago
Festival Walk shops and owners are burning....
Hong Kong protests: vandalised Festival Walk to remain closed until first quarter of 2020 for repairs, hitting retail and catering brands
  • Mall’s owner says it will need to repair glass entrances, glass curtain walls, escalators, lifts, and glass balustrades that were vandalised
  • The closure will mean even less earnings to businesses which are already struggling from a decline in tourist arrivals and a weak consumer sentiment

Ed 46 days ago
Slogans...   catchy....  emotive....  but generally empty...
Obama had "Change we can believe in" 
("More of the Same" would have been more appropriate)
Trump has "MAGA" (Make America Great Again) 
I'll be walking on water before MAGA happens.... 
Then in HK we have "We Burn - You Burn" 
No empty promises there --- they have lit the city on fire --- just walk through Soho to see the burned out hulks of many restaurants and shops ---- the flames are licking at thousands more across the city....  the massive Festival Walk shopping mall is shut.... 
Property owners are walking over scorching coals at the moment (both commercial and residential)...
Airlines and hotels are sweating like a banker in a suit running to catch a cab in Central in August ....   
Tourists can smell the smoke from thousands of km away.... and they are not coming...  would-be expats have gotten a whiff as well - and are not interested in accepting positions in HK...   
We are running a substantial campaign for a company that assists broiling expats with moving money out of Hong Kong at a better rate than the banks.... 
The protesters are following through on their promise....   
Will the gov't call in the water bombers to douse the fire by indicating a willingness to negotiate?   

Ed 44 days ago
China’s rising household debt a ‘major concern’ as government tries to boost consumption amid trade war
  • Household debt in China hit 60.4 per cent of its gross domestic product at the end of 2018, according to the People’s Bank of China (PBOC)
  • The rapid growth of household debt has raised concerns among policymakers and analysts at the same time the government tries to boost consumption
“[Household debt growth] is a major concern for the central bank,” said Xia Le, chief economist for Asia at Spanish banking group BBVA. “Looking at the rate of growth of household debt or leverage, in just over two or three years, it’s already grown to a level where you can’t say it’s particularly safe or low. It may be becoming a financial risk.”
A key gauge of China’s debt has topped 300% of gross domestic product, according to the Institute of International Finance (IIF), as Beijing steps up support for the cooling economy while trying to contain financial risks. 

China is hurtling toward another record year of onshore bond defaults, testing the government’s ability to keep financial markets stable as the economy slows and companies struggle to cope with unprecedented levels of debt.”


Could the HK revolt be:

Ed 44 days ago
Protesters remind the CCP of what will happen is 'Hong Kong Burns' ....  by painting the message onto the Bank of China:
Close to 1 million people on the streets yesterday... 
1.  The rebellion is not going to fade away
2.  Sending in the PLA will burn down the economy 
3.  Allowing this to continue to fester will burn down the economy
4.  Burning down the HK economy will burn down the mainland economy
The options here are rather limited....  time to blink?

Ed 42 days ago
Meanwhile....   all is not well across the border :
China Car Market Heads for Unprecedented Second Annual Drop


Car sales in China continued to decline in November, extending a historic slump and all but ensuring a second straight annual drop for the world’s biggest auto market.
Sales of sedans, sport utility vehicles, minivans and multipurpose vehicles fell 4.2% from a year earlier to 1.97 million units, the China Passenger Car Association said Monday. The decline was the 17th in the past 18 months, with the only increase coming this June as dealers offered large discounts to clear inventory.
Wholesales of new energy vehicles cars, including electric vehicles, fell 42% last month to 79,000 units, PCA said.
Sales of cars running on electric motors have been falling since July as regulators reduced subsidies.

Ed 42 days ago
Ed 42 days ago
At least 5,600 retail jobs to go in Hong Kong and 7,000 firms to fold in coming six months as protests land heavy blow on economy, survey finds
  • About 30 per cent of the 176 companies which responded to survey said they would lay off 10 per cent of their staff in the coming six months
  • Hong Kong Retail Management Association, which carried out the survey, says doom and gloom in industry will cause a chain reaction for economy

Tse said the companies planning lay-offs employed 21 per cent of the industry’s 270,000-strong work force, which meant more than 5,600 people would lose jobs. Those polled included companies running chain stores and individual small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). 

This means more than 5,600 families will be affected,” she said. “When these families have lower or no income, their spending power will be hurt and their mortgage repayments will be affected, too.”
If this trajectory is not checked (by solving the crisis) ...   this will be the result (with unemployment as the catalyst as opposed to interest drain)

Ed 42 days ago
Some 97 per cent of the companies were losing money. About 11 per cent of those polled said they would fold their businesses in the coming six months. Tse said based on the 64,000 business registrations of retail firms in Hong Kong, at least 7,000 companies could be included.
How many of those business owners who are losing money ...  have fat mortgages to pay...  
How many will be dumping other assets such as stocks... to keep their businesses afloat.... 

Ed 41 days ago
As of December 6, the Post found that at least 39 stores were vacant along Hennessy Road, the main thoroughfare connecting Causeway Bay, Admiralty and Wan Chai, one of the most sought after retail strips by big chains.
'We Burn - You Burn' --- in action.... 

Ed 39 days ago
Hong Kong Sevens week setback as rugby Tens cancelled amid ongoing protests
  • The famous rugby tournament serves as a curtain-raiser for the Sevens and attracts future and former stars from around the world
  • Organisers say they had difficulties in attracting and securing firm commitments from enough overseas teams of sufficient quality

Ed 37 days ago
Another reminder why HK is important:

In the public broadcaster interview, Li detailed his frustrations with building Oriental Plaza. A sprawling development in the heart of Beijing, the project faced political wrangling and loud public disagreement about its size as it went up in the 1990s.

His Chinese partners, he said, gained a 40% share of the project, up from an initial 10% or so.
Li said he had learned a lesson.

“In a political and cultural center like Beijing, one has to put business and economics in a lesser position,” he said. “Although I’ve run into all sorts of trouble, I now have a better understanding of China.”


Ed 37 days ago

One of the most common statistics thrown about regarding Hong Kong’s loss of significance is that its gross domestic product is only equivalent to 3 percent of China’s, down from more than 20 years ago when it was 18 percent.

But given Hong Kong’s population of 7 million is less than 0.5 percent of China’s population of more than 1.4 billion, Hong Kong is clearly still punching far above its weight.

More importantly, Hong Kong’s worth has never been about the size of its GDP, but its functions as a business hub.

 Hong Kong facilitates the majority of investments and other financial transactions between China and the world. Hong Kong is also a major stock market for top Chinese firms such as Alibaba to launch IPOs, and it is the world’s top non-mainland yuan clearing center.
In short, Hong Kong is China’s top international business hub. If Shanghai was capable of taking over Hong Kong’s role, it would have done so years ago.

Hong Kong is also by far the biggest offshore clearing hub for the renminbi, accounting for more than 70 percent of deals. This is despite a growing number of cities, including London, Toronto, and Zurich, that also act as offshore renminbi hubs.

Meanwhile, almost two-thirds of direct investment into and out of China originate or are transacted through Hong Kong. Again, clear regulations and lack of capital controls mean it is much easier for investors to channel funds to or from the mainland through Hong Kong rather than directly.

 Simply put, Hong Kong is an indispensable gateway for foreign funds to China.

All these functions cannot be quickly taken over by Shanghai or Shenzhen anytime. Hong Kong possesses several key advantages that can’t be found in those cities or elsewhere on the mainland.

First, despite the Communist Party’s best efforts, it maintains rule of law which includes a legal system based on common law and an independent judiciary that is not directly controlled by the government.

China’s notoriously opaque legal system is built on ambiguous and arbitrarily applied laws, secret kidnappings, and courts completely under the rule of the government. That renders business dealings deeply uncertain, and financial transparency often nonexistent.
Second, there are no capital controls, allowing for the free flow of funds into and out of the territory. On the mainland, strict controls limit how much money can be transferred outside of China by both individuals and corporations to prevent capital flight.
Third, it features a relatively free press environment (which has come under threat in recent years) as well as uncensored internet. Contrast this to the mainland, where in addition to politically sensitive topics, even economic news can be censored. 
Simply put.... if Hong Kong Burns - China Burns. Period. 

Ed 37 days ago
Ed 37 days ago
Protesters try to shut down Christmas shopping -  target 5 malls:
One of the protesters, Stephanie, explained the aim of the protest.

"Christmas shopping is not literally shopping in the shopping mall. It's just that we want to gather enough people to bring pressure on stores [so] that they will close down. That's the ultimate goal," Stephanie said.

She added that the protesters want to put enough pressure on the landlords and developers to push the government to agree to the protesters' five demands.
We Burn - You Burn - Everyone Burns.... 

Ed 37 days ago
At a Maxim’s fast food shop in Telford Plaza, protesters hurled verbal abuse at diners. Many of the customers left during the protesters’ invasion. The protesters later left after putting stickers on the storefront.

In New Town Plaza in Sha Tin, meanwhile, protesters began taking over the atrium at around 2pm as others marched around the mall, singing protest songs and shouting anti-government and anti-police slogans.

They invaded a restaurant under the Maxim’s chain, shouting at diners, and spraying graffiti on the storefront.

A woman tried to argue with the protesters and was spray-painted on the face. Paramedics later took her away. No one was arrested.

A Starbucks cafe shop also pulled down its shutters.

Similar scenes also played out at Metroplaza in Kwai Fong, where protesters harassed customers at an Arome Cafe store, shouting verbal abuse and calling them “pigs”.

Ed 36 days ago
Travellers avoiding Hong Kong in record numbers as airport posts nearly 1 million drop in passengers for November
Hong Kong International Airport reports worst drop in more than a decade as it handles 969,000 fewer passengers
The authority said it had seen a 6 per cent rise in transit traffic, while outbound Hong Kong resident travel grew 5 per cent in November. It did not specify the drop for inbound passengers. 
I million less tourists entered HK in November.   Also large numbers who would have taken trains into HK from south China avoided the city.
So over 1M people did not shop, stay in hotels, or eat in HK restaurants in November.
Then there are the undocumented numbers of people in HK who are passively protesting by 'purchasing only absolute necessities' ...   given that millions voted pro-democracy and 800k turned up for last Sunday's protest ....   let's assume this is also have a significant impact on the economy. 
Get ready for more boarded up shops and restaurants in Q1. 
if the strategy is to hope for the protests to burn themselves out.... it's not working. 
Any chance that we might have a Plan B? 

Ed 36 days ago
Meanwhile in Lebanon:  
Banks have now restricted dollar withdrawals and blocked nearly all transfers abroad.

Ed 36 days ago
Independent panel probing Hong Kong protests will not have subpoena powers, government minister says
  • Committee reviewing the crisis will not have authority to force people to give evidence, welfare secretary reveals
  • Protesters want a judge-led inquiry that can investigate allegations of police brutality
Hard to imagine the government would allow a proper investigation ... 
That would mean looking into the triad attacks on Yuen Long residents...  all those fellas were captured on video so finding and questioning them would not be difficult ... 
I can imagine the first question, after the lot were arrested and facing big jail time would be --- who put you up to that?   

Ed 35 days ago
Before Xi Jinping, the internet was becoming a more vibrant political space for Chinese citizens.
But today the country has the largest and most sophisticated online censorship operation in the world.
And Shenzhen is going to replace Hong Kong?    Not any time soon....

Ed 35 days ago
Hong Kong's Retail Catastrophe 
Retailers in Hong Kong are facing some increasingly difficult choices as street protests continue to disrupt sales during the festive season.
A survey by the Hong Kong Retail Management Association says more than 5,500 jobs could be lost and thousands of store closures in the next 6 months. Bloomberg’s Rachel Chang reports on “Bloomberg Markets: China Open.”  
Cathay Pacific records 46 per cent drop in passenger arrivals in November
Airline reports a fourth consecutive monthly decline in passengers carried globally, but shortfall in inbound advance bookings has been partially offset by improvement in transit passenger traffic
Beijing won't budge, CE won't be sacked: Lau Siu-kai 
A vice-president of the central government's top think tank on Hong Kong, Lau Siu-kai, says Beijing is not going to soften its stance on the SAR's unrest, there will be no further concessions, and Carrie Lam will stay on as Chief Executive.
= if this continues....HK economy will eventually collapse (see Lehman Brothers on steroids?)

Ed 30 days ago
More Attacks on the HK Economy:
Hong Kong protesters continued their ‘Christmas shopping’ protests on the last weekend before the holiday.
Hundreds of people walked through Harbour City mall in Tsim Sha Tsui chanting slogans in support of the anti-government protests that have gripped the city since June.
There were confrontations between some protesters and undercover officers. Police used pepper spray and at least three people were hit.

Ed 28 days ago
Last minute Christmas shopping plans?    I recommend you get that done over lunch.... as it could be problematic if you leave it till the evening....

Protesters Plan More Demonstrations Over Christmas

As Hong Kong gears up for Christmas celebrations, the protesters plan wildcat gatherings in prime shopping malls and a ‘silent night’ rally on Tuesday evening.

The demonstrators gathered at the harbourside on Monday sang “Glory to Hong Kong”, a protest anthem, and shone lights from their mobile phones.

Henry, a 28-year-old banker, said he was in the plaza to protest a recent police shutdown of Spark Alliance, a fund-raising platform for protesters. He wore a Guy Fawkes mask from the movie “V for Vendetta”, which glowed green in the dark.
“The Hong Kong government is ruining our reputation as a financial centre. How can they say we are a place for finance if they can shut down the fund so unreasonably?” he said.

Protesters plan to gather in five malls on Christmas Eve and will count down to Christmas near the harbour front in the bustling Tsim Sha Tsui district, social media posts say.
More protests are planned for Christmas Day on Wednesday.

The Civil Human Rights Front, which has organised some of the biggest marches involving more than a million people, has also applied to stage another march on New Year’s Day.


Seems the street rampages and MTR bashing have become passé ... 
The new trend is marching around malls in black shirts singing songs and requesting that people refrain from buying stuff...  

Greta would surely be pleased by this...

The HK economy..mall owners, shopkeepers and people who work in the shops... not so much...   
There much the mall owners can do because if they attempt to evict the song-singers... they end up on the blacklist --- and business tanks... damned if you do --- damned if you don't.

It will be interesting to see if The Civil Rights Front obtains a permit for the New Year's Day protest...   I am thinking that might bring over 1M people onto the streets...
Ho ho ho... Merry Christmas (?) 

Ed 28 days ago
On Monday, Citizens’ Press Conference, a self-styled representative group of the protesters, called on people to “take to the streets” on Christmas Eve and on the following day to “celebrate”.
Denying that they were trying to stir up trouble, a spokesman for the group said: “It is only natural for people to go out to celebrate. I just hope police do not intervene. Tear gas has no place in [a] festival.”
But he refused to elaborate on the group’s plans.
Many others also issued calls on the internet to take part in afternoon marches during Christmas and Boxing Day across Hong Kong. 

Ed 27 days ago
As expected, a search of headlines from across the world this morning results in a deluge of articles like these:
Violent clashes in Hong Kong on Christmas Eve – video 
Hong Kong police fire tear gas to disperse Christmas Eve Protesters in Malls - Read More 
Hong Kong Police Fire Water Cannon, Tear Gas in Christmas Eve Clashes  - Read More 
Accompanied by ghastly photos:
No doubt more of the same to come later today --- and then there is a the major New Year's March planned...  I can anticipate the headline 'Hong Kong Rings in the New Year with Volleys of Tear Gas'
The protesters are continuing to knee-cap the Hong Kong economy --- using very little violence -- and very little effort.  
Would-be tourists will be viewing these images and will continue to avoid the city.   Hotels, airlines, restaurants and shops will continue to take heavy losses....   jobs will be lost...   and at some point - we tip into the abyss.
If you want to understand how people feel when they see this images --- anyone up for trip to Santiago Chile...  or Lebanon?    
The protesters are fully aware of the effect their activities are having on the economy --  so they will continue with their agenda of 'We Burn - You Burn' - they either get what they want... or they take down the economy.
And there is very little the government can do to intervene --- it is not illegal not to shop nor march around malls window shopping (buying nothing) --- and you cannot force people to shop by deploying force (that would be martial law and curfews which would obviously result in virtually zero shopping).  
The axiom 'herding cats' comes to mind.... as Carrie Lam and the CCP struggle to deal with this never-ending nightmare

Ed 27 days ago
It's not even 6pm and already the Malls have descended into total mayhem.... watch live video.....   
International media will be having a field day with the video footage of a wild Christmas day in HK....    and there's still the entire evening to go....
Bye bye tourists bye bye...   

Ed 27 days ago
Room rates as low as US$12 a night bring no joy to Hong Kong’s half-empty hotels at Christmas
  • The outlook for Hong Kong’s hotel sector looks bleak as occupancy continued to fall for Christmas despite room rates dropping to as low as US$12 a night
  • According to the Hong Kong Tourism Board, there were 3.31 million arrivals in October, a decline of 43.7 per cent from the same month in 2018

Ed 26 days ago
Selfish rioters have ruined Christmas: Carrie Lam 
The Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, says the protests this Christmas in Hong Kong have ruined people's celebrations, but her administration will "try its utmost best" to uphold law and order.

Lam made the comments in a post on Facebook on Wednesday evening.

"Many members of the public and tourists coming to Hong Kong were naturally disappointed that their Christmas Eve celebrations have been ruined by a group of reckless and selfish rioters," she said.

"Such illegal acts have not only dampened the festive mood but also adversely affected local businesses. The government will try its utmost best to uphold law and order, and restore peace in Hong Kong."

In Chinese, the post also says that the "rioters" have been ignoring the rights and freedoms of others and the government is going to make sure those who break the law suffer the consequences.

Lam adds that her administration aims to get society back to normal so residents can return to their usual lives and tourists can keep coming to the hospitable city of Hong Kong. 
1.  If Christmas is about roaming about the Mall buying 'stuff' then ya... it's ruined.  RIP. 
2.  Let's recall the protester's primary strategy - attack the economy to try to force those in power to accede to the 5 Demands --- see The Nightmare from which we never awaken  Use targeted destruction and create chaos to create the perception globally that HK is not a safe place to visit.    Use these as a means to an end....
3.  A Google Search of Hong Kong Christmas Protests brings up:  About 31,300,000 results (0.44 seconds) including the RTHK article in which Lam acknowledges Mission Accomplished.
4.  Tens of millions of people around the world are viewing those results along with video coverage of Mayhem in the Malls the past two days and putting Hong Kong on their New Year's Resolution List of places to avoid in 2020 (including Santiago, Beirut, Kabul, Baghdad....) 
5. Even if this crisis were resolved this afternoon ---  it will take months before tourists decide to break their resolution and return to Hong Kong in numbers.   Chaos makes the front page -- calm and normal ---  are like a tree falling in a remote forest in Siberia....   
6. The protesters are clearly not going to stop creating chaos...   'they are dug in hard'   Dont think that they don't read the headlines.... they see the results of all their efforts... they see the crashing tourist numbers...  plummeting property market... negative GDP... 
7. They are reading your Facebook comments above --- and if they removed their masks and scarves, I am sure that would reveal many thousands of confident smirks....   because they are winning the war --- they know it --- I and every business owner in Hong Kong knows it - and surely the government must know it.
8. Sending Triads at them did not work ---  instructing the police to beat and intimidate them did not work...  hoping they would lose steam... did not work....
9. And now We Burn...  we are Burning....   
10. If there is a Plan B...  now's the time.
I am wondering what a bailout of HSBC would look like... would the Fed be involved?   That's a big ol beast ... much bigger than Lehman....  oh heck let's not stop there....  HSBC is not the only major financial institution in HK... and it is not the only Too Big Too Fail company in Hong Kong.... 
I am wondering... because this is where we are headed.... 

Ed 26 days ago
Want to see what millions of dollars spent by the HK Tourism Association on promoting Hong Kong as a 'must visit city' circling the drain looks like?  
Skip to the 2:20 mark and watch a toddler get tear gassed on Christmas eve ....  millions around the world will be seeing that ... 

Ed 26 days ago
‘It doesn’t matter if it’s Christmas’: Hong Kong pro-democracy activists keep up protests
Hong Kong anti-government protesters marched through Christmas-decorated shopping centers on Wednesday, chanting pro-democracy slogans.
The protests have turned more confrontational over the festive season, though earlier in December they had been largely peaceful after pro-democracy candidates overwhelmingly won district council elections.
Despite the embarrassing results, Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leaders have made no new concessions.
“Confrontation is expected, it doesn’t matter if it’s Christmas,” said Chan, a 28-year-old restaurant worker who was part of a crowd which exchanged insults with police outside a shopping center in the Mong Kok district.

“I’m disappointed the government still didn’t respond to any of our ... demands. We continue to come out even if we don’t have much hope,” said Chan, who only gave his surname.

Riot police patrolled several neighborhoods while tourists and shoppers, many wearing Santa hats or reindeer antlers, strolled past.

Ed 26 days ago
5 charts show how protests in Hong Kong have affected the city’s economy and stock market  Read More
Then of course there is this: HK HOME PRICES PLUNGE 26.8%
And then this:
The recent protests on the streets of Hong Kong, where HSBC makes roughly half its profit, have thrown the question into even sharper relief.   See the Graphs 

Moody’s changes outlook of HSBC’s China, Hong Kong units to negative as protests, trade war threaten profits
Moody’s Investors Service has changed its rating outlook for HSBC Bank China from “stable” to “negative” after doing the same to its parent earlier in the week, as the bank faces a difficult operating environment amid civil unrest in Hong Kong and the US-China trade war. 
“Recurring protests in Hong Kong are undermining consumption and inbound tourism. Meanwhile, elevated trade tensions between the US and mainland China have led to increased economic uncertainty in the region,” Moody’s said in a statement.
“Both developments will put pressure on the bank’s asset quality and profitability, and weigh negatively on Moody’s assessment of the bank’s BCA.” 

Ed 26 days ago
We've got an early start to day as protesters again seek to wreck the economy...   100's are already marching around one of the Malls...  shops are shutting down for the day... Watch

Ed 26 days ago
The Troopers have arrived - screaming and shaking their pepper spray canisters.  And the few tourists and shoppers in the mall --- are exiting Stage Left.
3 days of next to ZERO revenues for the shops....
Protesters are flashing the V for Victory sign.... 
Plan B?  How about a Plan A2.0?  We can even skip to Plan C...  be creative...  whatever the current plan is, it's a total disaster. 

Ed 25 days ago
Dood to see the SCMP is in agreement:
The Christmas holidays were neither merry nor peaceful for Hongkongers. As we envied how the festive season was celebrated with love and joy across the globe, we stunned the world with images of arson, vandalism, tear gas and pepper spray that have become all too familiar over the past six months.
Santa Claus and revellers were replaced by black-clad protesters and police with riot gear; the former trashing shops and singing Glory to Hong Kong, and the latter using pepper spray and force to subdue the crowd. Numbers were noticeably smaller than those at the height of the unrest, but the scenes were no less disturbing
The Christmas clashes, widely reported by international media, have dealt another blow to the image of Hong Kong and its police.  
No less important is the strategy. Fuelled by politics and an array of deep-seated problems, the unrest requires more than resolute law enforcement if it is to be tackled.
The past six months show that the protests are unlikely to die down by themselves. The government has to come up with effective solutions to address the situation. 
The SCMP (and all MSM) are missing the point --- the real damage that these activities are doing to Hong Kong is to the tourism industry -- these images are destroying it ---  and this is decimating the Hong Kong economy --- from retail to property ---  the protests are pounding everything to a bloody pulp...
This is not a side-effect of the protests ---- it is the primary directive
We Burn - You Burn...  this slogan is painted all over the city ...    the protesters strategy is to slowly Burn The Economy to the Ground  in the hope that the government will blink --- and accede to their demands.
The MSM is surely aware of this --- but they prefer not to acknowledge the elephant marching behind the protesters in the Malls...
I eagerly await the announcement of Plan B....  any day now... tick tock.... 

Ed 25 days ago
Hard Talk - BBC ...  discussion of Hong Kong:

Ed 25 days ago
These Chaps in Black are Very Persistent...
Gatherings are scheduled on Friday at the New Town Plaza shopping mall in Shatin and over the weekend in Sheung Shui, an area near the Chinese border. (Tune in via our HK Protest Channel - live feeds)
Those will lead up to a major rally on Jan. 1 organized by the Civil Human Rights Front, which has helmed some of the biggest peaceful protests since the demonstrations against China’s tightening grip over Hong Kong began in June. The organizer is still waiting for a police permit. 

Ed 24 days ago
The ‘Infinity War’ in the Streets of Hong Kong

Carrie Lam, the lame-duck Beijing-backed ruler of Hong Kong, is unhappy that Christmas has been “ruined by a group of reckless and selfish rioters.”

Joan Shang, who works in sustainable development and has joined the pro-democracy protests, takes a different view.
 “It’s an ideological war and we are at the center of it,” she said of the near-seven-month campaign. Such struggles do not take a break for Santa.

I found Hong Kong, once home to the pragmatic apolitical pursuit of money, riven and shaken. One consultant, who thinks the city is now “a base of subversion against the Chinese central government,” told me he’d arranged for his family to stay in New York because he does not want his teenage daughters breathing the “toxic air.”

 He was not referring to tear gas, but to poisonous division.

Ed 23 days ago
In keeping with the strategy of attacking the Hong Kong economy to try to force the government to negotiate with them, the protesters sent a message to mainland tourists yesterday: 
'Hong Kong is not safe for you - stay away' 
This will further decimate tourism from the mainland and deliver yet another body blow to the HK economy - which is already reeling and gasping for air after being bloodied and smashed by nearly 7 months of constant beatings.
Protesters Attack Mainland Tourists in Sheung Shui 

Earlier, in Sheung Shui, protesters showed up in the Landmark North shopping centre and on a footbridge from the mall to the MTR railway station, kicking shopping bags and suitcases of mainland visitors, who fled the scene, some leaving goods behind.


Two women screamed “help!” and ran into the station, while a man was injured after scuffles with protesters, who said he took photos of them and tried to push his way through the crowd.

Chanting slogans like “go back to the mainland”, “shop in China if you love the mainland”, as well as common anti-government rallying cries such as “five demands, not one less” and “disband the police force”, the protest had grown in numbers by 3.30pm as the group marched through the mall. 
RTHK has video of the attacks on Mainland shoppers --- this will be spreading like the Ebola virus across social and MSM in China today....
'Some of the protesters mocked the shoppers, saying "Hong Kong is dangerous" and shouted at them to go back to China.'
Let me finish this for them ....   'shouted at them to go back to China.... and spread that message on social media'. 

Ed 23 days ago
What can Carrie Lam and Beijing look forward to in 2020? (Hint: the Christmas protests are a preview)
This was Hong Kong 2019: children are charged for burning a flag or spraying protest graffiti, while grown men go unarrested for assault. Carrie Lam condemns doxxing, except when Ta Kung Pao is doing it.
Who’s in the mood to celebrate a new year?
Who wants to celebrate new year with the 12-year-old boy whom police tailed and arrested for spraying protest graffiti on a wall of Mong Kok police station in October? Compare that dedication with the action police have taken with regard to the white-shirted thugs involved in the Yuen Long attack on July 21: most of these men have yet to be arrested. 

Ed 23 days ago
Peaceful Protesting = Violent Protesting 

The head of Hong Kong’s biggest police officers association has said self-proclaimed peaceful protesters that assist radicals in committing violent acts, or simply stand and watch could also face legal consequences.


In an open letter to his members, Lam Chi-wai, chairman of the Junior Police Officers' Association, said while radicals should be condemned for their violence, protesters who called themselves “wo lei fei”, a Cantonese phrase meaning “peaceful, reasonable and non-violent”, were just as culpable.


“Rioters who are directly involved in the violence surely need to be responsible for their serious crimes, but a group of self-proclaimed peaceful, rational and non-violent followers cannot escape the blame,” Lam said.

Peace is Violence... Violence is Peace...   

Ed 22 days ago
We have just been informed that Soho Spice, which has been in business for well over 10 years....   has closed effective immediately.
Stay Tuned for more announcements as more Hong Kong businesses Burn.

Ed 22 days ago
A senior police officer on Monday urged people not to take his comments out of context, saying his claim that protesters were to blame for the July 21 gang rampage in Yuen Long was only one part of a long interview he had given to the media.
Let's add some context :

Ed 20 days ago
Tourist arrivals take sharpest plunge in November since protests began in Hong Kong
  • Only 2.65 million people visited city in the month, a decline of 56 per cent from same period last year
  • The slump is closest to the period of Sars outbreak in 2003, when arrivals fell more than 60 per cent

Ricky Tse Kam-ting, founding president of the Hong Kong Inbound Tour Operators’ Association, said he was not surprised at the record slump and expected worse days to come as mainland tourists were assaulted in Sheung Shui shopping malls during Christmas. 

“I have been in the industry for 40 years, and the situation now is the worst,” Tse said. “During the Sars outbreak, people worked together to boost the economy. But now, it’s like a long war with no end in sight.”


Tse said many countries and cities had stopped promoting Hong Kong tourism, while people in the mainland were also worried they would be assaulted if they came to the city.


“The whole industry is worried, and there’s little we can do at the moment.”


Ed 20 days ago
Burning Down Hong Kong 
Watch out you might get what you're after
Cool babies strange but not a stranger
I'm just an ordinary protester
Burning down Hong Kong

Hold tight wait till the party's over
Hold tight We're in for nasty weather
There has got to be a way
Burning down Hong Kong

Here's your ticket pack your bag: time for jumpin' overboard
The transportation is here
Close enough but not too far, Maybe you know where you are
Fightin' fire with fire

All TG hey you might need a gas mask
Shakedown dreams walking in broad daylight
Three hundred sixty five degrees
Burning down Hong Kong

It was once upon a place sometimes I listen to myself
Gonna come in first place
People on the streets in 2014 baby what did you except
Gonna burst into…

It was once upon a place sometimes I listen to myself
Gonna come in first place
Car park sized apartments cost 4 mil baby what did you except
Gonna burst into flame

My house in Shamshuipo is so ramshackle
That's might Don't want to hurt nobody
Water canonnon sure can sweep me off my feet
Burning down Hong Kong

No visible means of support and you have not seen nothing yet
Everything's stuck together
I don't know what you expect staring into the internet
Fighting fire with fire..

Ed 17 days ago
'We Burn -- You Burn' updates :
Hong Kong retail sales drop 23.6% in November as protests persist  More
Hong Kong’s Ocean Park will freeze salaries to avoid lay-offs with visitor numbers slumping 60 per cent as protests take hefty toll More
Latest Data Shows Protests Sucking The Life Out Of Hong Kong Economy  More 
 Hong Kong’s Airlines Face Job Cuts and Even Bankruptcies - Demonstrations have led to a sharp drop in visitors to city  More
So how did the Hong Kong economy burn to the ground?   'Two ways... gradually, then suddenly'
If this keeps up, I'll have to see if I can get my old job back driving the mini bus...    

Ed 17 days ago
Hong Kong Sevens must be held at whatever cost – or our city is lost   More
Let's think this through...
1.  The protesters goal is to attack the HK economy -- they have done this through targeted actions including shutting down the airport and creating mass chaos that gets picked up by international media outlets --- resulting in a collapse of tourist numbers to HK.
2.  The protesters are like flies to bright lights --- major events including Christmas and New Year's excite them and encourage them to put on a show because they know the world is watching - and won't be coming if they see crazy stuff.
3.  The Sevens is HK's biggest sporting event of the year.  Surely the protesters already have that weekend blocked in the calendar 'to do list'    I can imagine it looks something like this:  send Telegraph message urging hordes to gather in Soho, LKF and Wanchai on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the HK Sevens.   
Initiate activities that ensure the riot police come out of the hive and launch TG.    Before fleeing, watch the international press take video of rugby fans gasping for air....  
Something like this ... only on a grander scale?   
This is not an idle threat ---  this is The Strategy:
I suggest someone deal with the fire before deciding to move forward with the 2020 Sevens. 
Otherwise this is likely to be a disastrous situation as the protesters will be sure to 'seize the day' and 'come out to play'  putting on a dystopian show for all the world to see.

Ed 15 days ago
China signals hardline approach to Hong Kong with new top official 
The Chinese government replaced its top Hong Kong representative on Saturday with a senior Communist Party official known for bringing party discipline to unruly provinces, the New York Times reports, citing the state-run Xinhua news service.

Why it matters: After seven months of often violent pro-democracy protests, Beijing decided to make a change in personnel to a role that operates mainly through behind-the-scenes influence.
But  the selection of Luo Huining as top representative likely indicates not a softening of Beijing's position toward Hong Kongers' demands, but rather a further entrenchment of its hardline approach.
This swap makes former Central Liaison Office head Wang Zhimin the first senior official to lose his title after the protests, per NYT.
Luo has served as the Communist Party secretary in two provinces.
China said it would introduce steps to "safeguard national security" in Hong Kong in November, but did not provide specifics.
Between the lines: Wang "made no move to stop scheduled elections for neighborhood district councils in November, in the mistaken confidence that pro-Beijing candidates would maintain their longstanding dominance," per the Times.

But pro-democracy candidates defeated pro-Beijing candidates by a landslide amid record voter turnout.
Our thought bubble: The Chinese Communist Party's mismanagement of Hong Kong has plunged it into a months-long political crisis, as massive protests have torn apart the city's social fabric and crippled its economy.

It's clear that Chinese President Xi Jinping has drawn a hard line, refusing to meet protester's demands for police accountability and the resignation of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam.
This swap could be the latest step toward the "mainlandization" of a Chinese city that has traditionally enjoyed far greater political and civil freedoms than its mainland counterparts.
Hmmm....  HK is  important specifically because it is different (e.g. it has rule of law... various freedoms including no censorship) from all mainland cities...   I am unclear as to the purpose of turning it into another mainland city....  particularly when attempting to do so... we risk blowing up the HK economy.... and in turn the mainland economy...
I need help understanding this. 

Ed 15 days ago
“Luo’s appointment probably signals a hard-line policy from Beijing -- that we don’t give a damn about your feelings,” said Chen Zhao, co-founder of the Montreal-based research firm Alpine Macro, who has insights on China after attending university with some of the nation’s high-ranking officials.
“He’s just a party boss -- he has no connection with Hong Kong and no foreign affairs expertise.”

Ed 15 days ago
Both sides are adapting their strategies....
The protesters, energized by their efforts to successful destroy HK tourism...  have been targeting Chinese traders in recent weeks clearly looking to completely shut down all inbound mainland tourism.   
I am seeing 4 star hotel rooms going for as low as USD50.... that were selling for $80 a month+ ago....   their strategy 'starve the economy' is working extremely well.
The police are responding by arresting pretty much anyone they can get their hands on, including people at the sanctioned New Year's Day protest.    The message appears to be - do not attend protests even if they are permitted --- we will get you.
I can't say I have not been expecting this ...  today we saw a new tactic from the protesters ---  it looks like two protesters carried out a hit and run attack on a restaurant in Shamshuipo....  and like two puffs of smoke, they disappeared and it is highly unlikely they will ever be captured.
This is a very dangerous development ---  if the protesters decide to roll out this strategy wholesale with small teams striking quickly (rather than confronting the police enmasse) then this will be VERY difficult to stop.   
Think large numbers of two-man masked squads targeting pro-China businesses or HSBC and Chinese bank ATMS/branches in quieter parts of the city in the middle of the night.... or during the day when the see no police presence (as happened today).
Once again, the protesters targeted mainland Chinese ...   if they go mainstream with this and harrass (or attack) anyone speaking Mandarin in HK that  would be devestating as many mainlanders are working and studying in Hong Kong and they may flee if they feel unsafe.  Many students have already departed from HK universities for exactly this reason.
Every day that passes without a deal being done....  takes us deeper into darkness as both sides refine their strategies.     
The police appear to be some steps behind and their sledgehammer approach is only serving to scatter the protesters making it more difficult to stop them.
Dozens arrested after Hong Kong protest taking aim at Chinese traders
Scuffles erupted between police and protesters in Hong Kong on Sunday, with dozens of arrests made, after thousands marched near the border, shouting pro-democracy slogans and venting their anger at mainland Chinese traders.
Hong Kong restaurant firebombed by black-clad attackers, police investigate protests link 
The firebombing of a Hong Kong restaurant has sparked a manhunt for two black-clad men wearing masks as police investigate whether the attack was linked to the protests.
Two petrol bombs were thrown into Spicegirl in Lai Chi Kok Road, Sham Shui Po, soon after 2am on Monday when the eatery was still open, before two assailants fled on foot, leaving staff to tackle the flames.

Ed 14 days ago
Even Macau is Burning:

Casinos in Macao took a beating in 2019 after a few winning years as the demonstrations in nearby Hong Kong scared tourists off.

Fading economic momentum in China also kept high-rolling mainlanders from trying their luck.

Gross revenue from so-called games of fortune slid 3.4% on the year to 292.5 billion pataca ($36.6 billion) for the first annual decline in three years, data from the Macao government shows.

December revenue plunged 13.7% in a continuation of weakness since January 2019, when monthly numbers began falling for the first time in around two and a half years.

Ed 14 days ago
Hong Kong and China together contributed two thirds of HSBC’s adjusted pretax profit in the first three quarters last year. The group has $1.1 trillion of assets across Asia, according to its interim report last year, with a majority concentrated in Hong Kong where it has 21,000 employees.
Hong Kong’s months long protests have crippled its retail and hospitality sectors, damping demand for corporate loans and mortgages. Provisions too may rise, according to Bloomberg Intelligence, which estimated a pre-tax profit decline of 8% in 2020 for HSBC’s local business and for its peers under a worst-case scenario. 
Worst case scenario?  Wishful thinking?  More likely a best case scenario.
How did you go bankrupt?   Gradually - then suddenly.   
If this crisis continues throughout 2020...  we will likely experience suddenly. 
Tens of thousands of businesses are hanging on for dear life right now....  as they fail, huge numbers of people will be out of work... they will buy less...  putting more pressure on other businesses and driving them out of business.
This hits the property market (bankrupt business owners do not pay mortgages and do not buy property...  this drives others into negative equity as the market drops...  this ultimately impacts HSBC...) 
We need this to be resolved. 

Ed 14 days ago
'WE BURN - YOU BURN' update:
Hong Kong Landlords Face Tough Times as Shop, Office Rents Sink 
Folli Follie, a brand of Greek firm FF Group, closed one of its shops in Central in December ahead of the lease’s expiration and the asking price has since been chopped by 40%. LVMH, the world’s largest luxury conglomerate, plans to close a Times Square mall store in Causeway Bay after its request for lower rent was refused. 
Knight Frank LLP estimates rental costs for street shops in prime shopping areas will decline by 15% or more in 2020 as a result of ongoing social unrest. 
15% ---  really?   
After those attacks on mainland shoppers the past two weeks the feeble trickle coming across the border will be reduced to a few droplets here and there.....
And mainland shoppers drive the sales of many of these shops - in particularly luxury goods.
Perhaps if we get a deal done, 15% is realistic as it would take time to recover... but no deal... and 15% is wishful thinking. 

Ed 13 days ago
Protesters deliver another solid blow ---  a USD90,000,000 hard right cross to the head of United Airlines.... 
United Airlines Holdings Inc (UAL.O) said on Tuesday it expects a non-cash impairment charge of US$90 million in the fourth quarter related to its Hong Kong routes, following anti-government protests in the city.
"Due to a decrease in demand for the Hong Kong market and the resulting decrease in unit revenue, the company determined that the value of its Hong Kong routes had been fully impaired," the U.S. carrier said.
Stay tuned for more episodes of 'As Hong Kong Burns'  ....

Ed 13 days ago
We Burn - You Burn --- update:
Ocean Park to seek Hong Kong government help for HK$10 billion bid to revive ailing resort
Cash injection vital to save theme park and transform facilities amid punishing competition across region, source says
City lawmakers to hear funding proposal later this month, with the attraction ‘losing a fortune’ every month
Ocean Park’s latest troubles were exposed last week when it revealed cost-control measures following a 60 per cent plunge in visitor numbers between July and December last year on the same period in 2018. 

Since June last year, Hong Kong has been ravaged by unrest sparked by the now-withdrawn extradition bill, with radical protesters and riot police trading petrol bombs and tear gas in often-violent demonstrations.

The chaos has had a devastating impact, with preliminary statistics from Hong Kong Tourism Board showing visitor numbers in 2019 were down 14 per cent to about 55 million. More than 40 jurisdictions have issued warnings on Hong Kong travel.

 Disney will be at government house cap in hand next no doubt.... 
Did I mention...  I am waiting on a Plan B?     
It needs to be announced fairly soon --- because at some point this dying city is going to hit a tipping point .... then 10B is going to be 10T...   HSBC is a lot bigger than Lehman ....  

Ed 12 days ago
Average home prices fell by a quarter last year in the world’s most expensive city as protests, trade war sapped demand
The average price of a new home in Hong Kong fell last year by the most since a 29 per cent slump in 2006, according to Ricacorp Properties
The anti-government protests, which started in June and became increasingly volatile, deterred buyers and caused the average price of a new home to drop by HK$3.72 million (US$478,226), or 25 per cent, to HK$10.87 million from an all-time high in 2018, according to real estate agency Ricacorp Properties. 
Analysts see a further slide, forecasting that home prices will drop between 15 and 20 per cent in 2020
Feeling Hot Hot Hot? 

Ed 11 days ago
The “depth of the devastation” inflicted on Hong Kong’s economy by more than six months of anti-government protests will be seen in the coming weeks, the chief of the city’s stock exchange operator said on Thursday.
I think local listed companies with local exposure are going to take a very big hit. They already are taking a big hit,” Charles Li, CEO of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd (HKEX), told a Reuters Breakingviews event.

Ed 7 days ago
Burn update:
World's Second Largest Jeweler to Shut Down About a Fifth of Hong Kong Stores

Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd. said it plans to shut about 15 of its Hong Kong stores after their leases expire this year, as the city’s retail market continues to be weighed down by ongoing anti-China protests.

In the first major pullback by a luxury retailer after seven months of protests that have driven away tourists, the jewelry chain said in an emailed statement Tuesday that it will not renew the leases of a “mid-teens” number of stores in the year starting April.

Ed 6 days ago
The HK Police force has to be the best in the world -  they find every single gun or bomb in the city -- in baseball they call that 'batting 1000'  (highest ever is 426)
Anyway...  if the Police strike out even once....
Police defuse ‘powerful’ pipe bomb in Hong Kong flat and arrest three men
Two of the suspects, tertiary students aged 21 and 22, were arrested in Mong Kok and police believe they have links to a radical anti-government protest group.

Ed 6 days ago
Burn Monitor:
IBIS Sheung Wan was charging HKD5000 for 14 night long-stays a couple of months ago - now it's HKD400 for a SINGLE night booking.
What's the point in continuing to protest when your goal has always been to demolish the economy.  Why continue to get arrested when it's already Mission Accomplished.
All the protesters need to do is ramp up a legal march from time to time and pour hundreds of thousands onto the streets as a warning....  they can amp things simply by sending a Telegraph message. 
Plan B - $2 bus rides for seniors. 

Ed 5 days ago
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s administration responded on Wednesday to the US group’s annual report, which accused the city’s police of beating subdued protesters and allowing suspected gang members to roam free after attacking pro-democracy lawmakers.
“If members of the public could express their views in a peaceful and rational manner, there would be no need for the police to use any force,” a government spokesman said on Wednesday.
I J-walk constantly on Des Voeux Rd central now that all the railings have been removed ---  I better stop misbehaving ---  because I'd hate for a cop to beat me senseless if he caught me!
Applying CL's logic to bank robbers --- if the bank robbers rob banks then the police should respond by also robbing banks.
Slippery slopes all around... 

Ed 1 day ago
Burn Update:
Hong Kong protests: traveller numbers at city airport in biggest drop since 2009 as unrest batters tourism  More 
Very few Mainland tourists venture into Hong Kong for fear of attacks.   And international tourists are avoiding the city as they would a diseased leper.
Herb Stein: 'What cannot continue - will stop' .... as in the HK economy will eventually tip over.
Plan B? 
The people of Lebanon have given up on peacefully protesting as well - the weekend resembled something out of the depths of hell Watch the Chaos 

Ed 18 hrs ago
Burn Update: SOHO is in flames....   
A month or so ago I counted 7 boarded up restaurants/shops out of 15 on one Soho street ....  
Well...  one of my favourites --- a restaurant that has been in operation for nearly two decades ---  will close for good at the end of January. 
Olive Greek & MIddle Eastern is the latest victim of the protests.
If this keeps up, the entire Soho district is going to turn into a ghost town. 
Plan B?  ....  Or do we just sit back, and watch establishment after establishment crash until the financial system catches fire?
Un..f.... believable.  

Ed 18 hrs ago
I am losing my memory in my old age ....  Plan B was announced a couple of weeks ago...
$2 bus fares for the elderly.  Wow!
I can't wait to hit 60.   I am gonna cash in and ride the buses all day long to make sure I get my money's worth. 
In the meantime, hopefully we have something slightly more exciting being considered as a Plan C. 

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