Hong Kong

The Biden administration’s business advisory on Hong Kong has generated more heat and light than appears justified by its contents, according to a Bloomberg Opinion. The fireworks may be a sign that the U.S. and China are content to let hostilities play out as diplomatic theater, and are reluctant to raise confrontation to a level that would meaningfully challenge the functioning of a key global financial center.

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Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance is close to an agreement to settle a dispute with a Hong Kong-based asset manager regarding unpaid debts, Bloomberg News reported. GFG is close to a settlement with TransAsia Private Capital, which was pressing to take control of a block of shares in Simec Atlantis Energy Ltd., a tidal-power developer owned by GFG, the person said, asking not to be identified as the matter is confidential. A GFG unit owns 43% of U.K.-listed Simec.
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Hong Kong sold a rare land parcel in the Causeway Bay area for a higher-than-expected price, a sign of recovery for the city’s commercial real estate market, Bloomberg News reported. The government sold the site to Hysan Development Co. and Chinachem Group for HK$19.8 billion ($2.5 billion) in a public tender, according to a statement. That exceeds a previous valuation of about HK$15 billion by Midland IC&I Ltd., reflecting optimism from developers that Hong Kong’s office and retail markets will rebound.
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World shares advanced Thursday ahead of the release of U.S. economic growth data and following a speech by President Joe Biden outlining ambitious plans for beefing up early education and other family oriented policies, the Associated Press reported. London’s FTSE 100 jumped 0.7% to 7,013.40. In Paris, the CAC40 climbed 0.6% to 6,344.17. Germany’s DAX slipped 0.2% to 15,262.39 as a report showed weakening consumer confidence. The future for the Dow industrials rose 0.4% and that for the S&P 500 surged 0.6%. U.S.

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Shares of around 50 Hong Kong-listed companies were suspended from trading on Thursday, according to stock exchange filings, with many firms citing delays in publishing their annual results as the reason for the move, Reuters reported. Most of the companies involved are small-cap names, however, they also included some larger firms including embattled bad debt manager China Huarong Asset Management and solar energy firm GCL-Poly Energy.
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As Hong Kong residents move overseas to escape China's political crackdown, real estate companies see new opportunities in areas such as assisting with visa applications and brokering property transactions, Nikkei Asia reported. Interest in leaving Hong Kong is the highest since the lead-up to the former British colony's 1997 return to China, said Andrew Lo, a local emigration consultant who has worked in the industry for over three decades. "This is the biggest emigration boom in Hong Kong's history," he said.
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UA Cinemas, one of Hong Kong’s biggest movie-theater chains, abruptly shut down operations in the city, citing the pressure that the pandemic had on its business, Bloomberg News reported. It will cease operations in Hong Kong with immediate effect on March 8 and court proceedings to wind up the business have begun, the company said on its website on Monday. The demise turns Hong Kong’s third-largest cinema chain into one of the city’s most high-profile casualties of the coronavirus pandemic, which has ravaged businesses worldwide.
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Shares of Evergrande Property Services fell marginally on their Hong Kong debut on Wednesday, shedding initial gains as the spinoff of China’s second-largest property developer struggled to shake off worries about debt and competition, Reuters reported. Concerns about the financial health of its parent, China Evergrande Group, have clouded Hong Kong’s third-largest listing of the year, with China’s most indebted developer planning to use half the $1.8 billion raised for its own debt repayment.

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Premier Oil’s biggest lender, hedge fund Asia Research and Capital Management (ARCM), plans to auction $200 million of the energy producer’s debt ahead of a $530 million equity raise by the company, three sources told Reuters, Reuters reported. ARCM, which holds more than 15% of Premier’s debt instruments, would retain about $240 million of the company’s debt if the auction succeeds. The bid deadline is set for Friday, one of the sources said.

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One of Southeast Asia’s biggest conglomerates faces its gravest challenge yet as the pandemic roils Genting group’s collection of casinos, cruises and resorts, Bloomberg News reported. Cracks were already starting to show even before cruise operator Genting Hong Kong Ltd. said it would suspend payments to creditors. This week, the group holding company and a Malaysian unit could show some of their worst declines to earnings as second-quarter results are due.

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