A long-stretched financial winter looms over Hong Kong

By Money Times

Dec 08, 2015 11:26 PM EST

Hong Kong's international financial hub is reeling under pressure as the world's largest and second largest economies are impacting it more in a negative way.

The concerns about possible interest rate hike by US Federal Reserve and an ongoing economic slowdown in China are casting shadows over Asia's international financial hub. These factors subsequently will worsen the labor market, property sector and economic conditions of Hong Kong. 

Despite support from Chinese growth until recently, Hong Kong's GDP is slowing down. The easy monetary conditions couldn't propel the growth rate for Hong Kong. Now, along with China's economy slow down, the supporting factors for Hong Kong have also been dissipating in the wake of weaker global markets.

The Hong Kong financial hub's gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to ease 2.2 percent in next few months. Quoting Credit Suisse's report titled 'Hong Kong: A Long Winter,' Business Insider Singapore, published a story.

Christiaan Tuntono, an analyst at Credit Suisse, said in the report that "Hong Kong's GDP is expected to clock in at 2.2 percent between 2016 and 2020, a significant drop from its GDP of four percent over the past 15 years."

A turbulent situation for Hong Kong's financial center is expected if US Federal Reserve hikes interest rate this month. Adding to this, the China's economy slowdown will further impact the international financial center. At the end, these two factors will drag on the labor market, property sector and economic situation of Hong Kong, opines Tuntono in his report.

Foreign investors are worrying over latest developments in Hong Kong's financial sector as reported by Reuters.

A majority of foreign investors have invested in China or operating through Hong Kong for investments in the mainland. The Chinese government's probe in securities market is creating tremors among the funds and brokerage firms. 

The August crash has already wiped out 40 percent of market capitalization. The latest probe into securities markets is causing more panic situation for hedge funds, institutional fund managers, brokers and banks. The Chinese government is serious about malicious short-selling and insider trading in the financial markets.

The Chinese government has imposed restrictions on the capital outflow. It puts more pressure on cross-border transactions as they have been capped at $50,000 per annum.

However, the Chinese government is mulling over simplifying it. It may launch a pilot program called 'QDII2' giving an option to investors allowing them to invest half of their value of assets in international financial holdings.

However, South China Morning Post has a different story altogether. Its latest report reveals that the Communist Party has charted a five-year plan aimed at enhancing per capita income in the mainland and creating more business opportunities for the Hong Kong-based financial companies. The five-year plan makes everyone rethink of Hong Kong's role in China's financial sector.

Tuntono further elaborates in the report that "a structural downturn of the Hong Kong economy is likely to put negative pressure on future revenue streams that are dependent on the performance of the real economy and global and domestic asset markets".

"Besides the risk over future revenue streams, Hong Kong's rapidly aging population is also expected to raise government welfare and healthcare expenditures", he added.

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