Hong Kong equity market remains resilient despite social unrest in 2019



The Hong Kong stock market remained resilient in 2019, with a steady benchmark index and robust IPOs, despite social unrest dragging on for more than half a year.

The Hang Seng Index closed at 28,189.75 on Tuesday, the last trading day of this year, slightly down 0.46 percent from Monday. For the entire 2019, the index went up 9.07 percent and at one point reached 30,280.12.

While a wide range of industries from catering to tourism were seriously impacted by violent incidents, the stock market can hardly be completely intact. However, thanks to improved market regime, better connectivity with the Chinese mainland markets, and reforms in listing rules, the market fended off downward risks and topped the world’s IPO fund-raising league table.

The market showed strong resilience this year and there were neither panic nor massive capital outflows, Cheng Shi, an economist with ICBC International, said.

Although some companies shelved IPO plans in July, the market recovered rapidly with a record number of listings in the fourth quarter.

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited witnessed several world-class listings in 2019, including that of Alibaba Group Holding and Budweiser Brewing Company APAC, which, the exchange said, underscored the strong appeal of Hong Kong’s markets for global and regional issuers alike.

New economy companies accounted for a larger proportion on the market, gradually breaking the domination of traditional companies in finance and property and expected to inject vitality into the global financial center.

In 2019, Stock Connect, a landmark program linking Hong Kong and mainland equity markets, also celebrated its fifth anniversary in November. By the end of October, the aggregate trading volume under the program accumulated to 17 trillion yuan (about 2.5 trillion U.S. dollars).

With its valuation still at a relatively low level, the Hong Kong market will be more attractive to global investors and will likely bottom out in the coming year, analysts said.

Global consulting firm Ernst & Young said the Hong Kong’s IPO market will remain robust in 2020, with total fund-raising as high as 350 billion Hong Kong dollars (about 45 billion U.S. dollars).

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