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The Week in Numbers: Hong Kong Withdraws Extradition Bill

Hong Kong stocks posted its best single-day gain in eight months after leader Carrie Lam said she will withdraw the controversial extradition bill. The Hang Seng Index, a barometer of the Hong Kong stock market surged 4% on the afternoon of Wednesday, 4 September. The Hang Seng index ended the week 4.1% higher at 26,690. However, it still remains 12% below its peak achieved before the protests began.

Fitch Ratings have also downgraded Hong Kong as an issuer of long-term debt from AA to AA+. This is the city’s first credit rating downgrade since 1995.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said that they are not expecting a recession in the US. But analysts are still expecting a second interest rate cut in the next policy meeting.

The US economy added 130,000 new jobs in August, less than expected. But the unemployment rate of 3.7% remains unchanged for the third month in a row. Wages were up, with average hourly earnings up 3.2% from August 2018.

China’s central bank announced on Friday, 6 September, that it will be injecting US$126 billion (S$174 million) into the financial system to boost its slowing economy. China’s economy has been hampered by the bruising trade war with the United States. China’s central bank also said that it would cut the reserve requirement ratio by 0.5%.

China’s economic growth fell to 6.3% in the first half of 2019 and to 6.2% in the second quarter of the year.

Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffered two major losses in Parliament on Wednesday (4 September). Lawmakers in the House of Commons defied Johnson’s will and passed legislation seeking to avert a no-deal Brexit scheduled for 31 October, thereby effectively delaying Brexit another three months.

Opposition lawmakers, together with more than 20 of Johnson’s own conservative party members, condemned the PM to a painful defeat. Johnson also fell short on his bill to force an early national election on 15 October. He needed two-thirds of the votes from the 650 members of the House of Commons but ended up with just 298 votes, less than half.

Back home, Hutchison Port Hldg Trust (SGX: NS8U) has been dropped from the Straits Times Index (SGX: ^STI). The container port trust has seen it’s market capitalisation drop by 84% since it went public in 2011 and is now worth around US$1.4 billion (S$1.9 billion). Mapletree Commercial Trust (SGX: N2IU) will take its place as part of the 30 constituents of the Straits Times Index. 

India lost contact with its unmanned spacecraft just before it was scheduled to land on the moon. India had hoped to become the fourth country to successfully land on the moon. The craft is said to have descended to 2.1km above the south pole region before contact was lost. The Chandrayaan-2 took off on 22 July carrying an orbiter, lander, and rover. Remarkably, The ambitious space mission cost only US$140 million (S$193 million) compared to the equivalent of US$100 billion that the US spent on its Apollo missions.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Jeremy Chia doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned. The Motley Fool Singapore has recommended the shares of Mapletree Commercial Trust.