Thursday, February 29, 2024
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Addressing the audience at the second Global Financial Leaders’ Investment Summit in Hong Kong, Paul Chan, Hong Kong’s financial secretary, emphasized the desire to incorporate the renminbi (RMB) dual counter southbound in the Stock Connect, a program facilitating market access for investors between mainland China and Hong Kong.

Chan’s proactive stance included the proposal to enable the trading of 24 major stocks simultaneously in the Hong Kong dollar and renminbi. He underscored the ongoing efforts to collaborate with regulators and gain support from mainland authorities, emphasizing the aim to onboard more high-quality issuers and foster increased connectivity.

Reflecting on the recent Q3 2023 GDP figures, which indicated a growth of 4.1%, Chan regarded the recovery as sustainable, despite being slower than anticipated. Anticipating the Hong Kong economy’s GDP growth to surpass 3% for the year, he cited enhanced connectivity with China as a driving force for increased visitor arrivals and business inflow. Highlighting financial services, innovation, technology, and private consumption as key growth catalysts, Chan underscored the government’s substantial investment, close to HK$200 billion, to establish a robust and sustainable economic driver.

Furthermore, Chan highlighted the development of a comprehensive ecosystem in strategic areas such as artificial intelligence, big data analytics, fintech, bioscience, and advanced manufacturing. Noting the challenges in building such an ecosystem, he highlighted the attraction of talents and the successful onboarding of numerous companies, projecting significant job creation in research and managerial roles.

Despite the optimism expressed by Chan, there remain notable risks within the global financial system, as discussed during the summit’s panel sessions. Bob Prince, co-chief investment officer at Bridgewater Associates, emphasized the significance of managing asset-liability mismatches, debt rollovers, and liquidity issues. Ken Griffin, founder and CEO of Citadel, underlined the potential inflationary effects of deglobalization, while also expressing a bullish sentiment on investment prospects in China, citing the nation’s robust innovation and competent management teams.

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