Hong Kong

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Hong Kong dipped into its foreign-exchange reserves for the first time in three years to defend its longstanding dollar peg, acting to shore up the local currency against a surging greenback, the Wall Street Journal reported. The Chinese territory’s de facto central bank, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, on Thursday said it had acted twice to stop the local currency trading beyond the weak end of its permitted range of 7.75 to 7.85 Hong Kong dollars per U.S. dollar. The monetary authority said it had sold U.S.
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Hong Kong's retail sales fell in February after 12 straight months of growth as a wave or COVID-19 infections hit the city and anti-epidemic measures weakened consumer sentiment and reduced the numbers of people going to shop, Reuters reported. Retail sales in February fell 14.6% from a year earlier to HK$25.2 billion ($3.22 billion), official data released on Thursday showed. That compares with a revised 4% increase in January and a 13.7% fall in last decline in January 2021. It is the steepest decline since July 2020, during the early months of the pandemic, when sales dropped 23.1%.
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The president of Britain’s Supreme Court said Wednesday that he and a colleague were stepping down from their roles on Hong Kong’s highest court because the administration of the Chinese territory had “departed from values of political freedom and freedom of expression,” the New York Times reported. Their resignations will heighten scrutiny of Hong Kong’s British-style legal system, which the former British colony kept even after it returned to Chinese control in 1997.
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The sale of Genting Hong Kong's unfinished mega-liner Global Dream has already lured plenty of potential buyers, including billionaire ex-Genting boss Lim Kook Thay, traveller.com reported. The vessel is set to become the world's biggest cruise ship by capacity once completed, but it currently sits unfinished in a German shipyard. Troubled cruise company Genting HK – which also owns Dream Cruises, Crystal Cruises and Star Cruises – filed for bankruptcy on Jan. 19, days after the Hong Kong government paused "cruises to nowhere" (short round-trip sailings that stop at no additional ports).

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As the government in Hong Kong struggles to contain the city’s worst Covid outbreak ever, some residents have panicked, the New York Times reported. Tens of thousands of new Omicron cases are being reported each day, and deaths have surged. The anxiety gripping Hong Kong is not just about the explosion of infections, but also about what the government will do next. Under pressure from Beijing to eliminate infections, Hong Kong officials have vowed to test all 7.4 million residents.
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Hong Kong's market regulator has fined a Citigroup subsidiary HK$348.25 million ($45 million) for misconduct in its cash equities business and is launching disciplinary proceedings against some former senior managers at the bank, Reuters reported. The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) said on Friday that some of Citigroup Global Markets Asia Limited's (CGMAL) trading desks had issued inaccurate "indications of interest" in stocks to generate client inquiries and had also made misrepresentations to customers when executing some trades.
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Perry Lam felt confident that his business had weathered the worst of the pandemic. Several rounds of bar closures in Hong Kong had dimmed the city’s vibrant nightlife, threatening to destroy his brewery. But things seemed better late last year. After the government’s relentless effort to stamp out the virus, there were no local infections, bars began ordering kegs of his lager again and money was coming in. “You saw the silver lining,” said Mr. Lam.
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Troubled cruise operator Genting Hong Kong Ltd. warned it may seek court assistance to safeguard its assets, after failing to secure funding to help it stay afloat following the insolvency of its German shipbuilding subsidiary, Bloomberg News reported. The cruise operator plans to file for provisional liquidation with courts in Bermuda, where its registered office is, unless it receives “credible proposals for a solvent, consensual and inter-conditional restructuring solution,” it said in an exchange filing.
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Troubled cruise operator Genting Hong Kong Ltd. plunged by a record Thursday after shares resumed trading, following warnings from the company in recent days of more defaults due to the insolvency of its German shipbuilding subsidiary, Bloomberg News reported. Part of Malaysian tycoon Lim Kok Thay’s sprawling casino-to-hospitality Genting empire, the Hong Kong cruise firm’s shares slid 56% in the city. They had been suspended since last week.
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Hong Kong banks have to renegotiate HK$1.6 trillion ($205 billion) in contracts linked to the London interbank offered rate before the benchmark ceases as corporate customers have been slow in transitioning to alternatives, the city’s de-facto central bank said, Bloomberg News reported. At the end of September, Hong Kong lenders had HK$4.3 trillion of assets, HK$1.2 trillion of liabilities and HK$34.9 trillion in derivative contracts tied to Libor, according to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.
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