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Friday, February 14, 2020, 23:00
HKEx chief says HK stock market resilient despite epidemic
By Luo Weiteng
Friday, February 14, 2020, 23:00 By Luo Weiteng

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited Chief Executive Officer Charles Li speak during a forum of Shanghai-Hong Kong financial cooperation under the Belt And Road Initiative in Hong Kong, Oct 16, 2017. (ROY LIU / CHINA DAILY)

Despite the coronavirus jitters that have rattled global markets, Hong Kong’s stock market has seen an average 20-percent growth in daily trading volume so far this year, compared with the same period a year ago, reflecting a vote of confidence in the resilience of Asia’s financial center, said Hong Kong bourse chief Charles Li Xiaojia.

The local capital market, hit by the double whammy of the protracted Sino-US trade skirmish and the months-long city-wide violent protests, got off to a bumpy start in the Year of Rat as the novel coronavirus pneumonia, now officially known as COVID-19, rampages across the world's second-largest economy. 

In the face of the many challenges ahead, Hong Kong’s capital market is trading in an orderly and active manner. Hong Kong has a long, good track record of riding out the storm. We’ve what it takes to withstand the crisis

Charles Li Xiaojia, 

chief executive of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing

“In the face of the many challenges ahead, Hong Kong’s capital market is trading in an orderly and active manner,” Li, chief executive of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX), said on Friday. “Hong Kong has a long, good track record of riding out the storm. We’ve what it takes to withstand the crisis.” 

READ MORE: CE announces HK$25-billion package to ease virus woes

Daikiya Group Holdings, a Japanese-style restaurant chain, said on Wednesday it will put off its initial public offering that aims to raise up to HK$200 million (US$25.75 million) in Hong Kong — the first IPO victim of the coronavirus outbreak in the SAR. 

Li said IPO applications and reviews haven’t been affected by the epidemic. The existing trading model allows HKEx staff to execute transaction orders from outside the office. They can also review application documents at home or follow up with potential IPO companies by phone. 

ALSO READ: New coronavirus may do more damage to economies than SARS, experts say

Although some companies may run into difficulties in pressing ahead with IPO roadshows, the impact on the IPO market is minimal, he reckoned. 

Compared with the second half of the year, the first half has traditionally been a “bleak season” for IPOs, Li said, adding he’s confident about the performance of Hong Kong’s IPO market this year, as “the seeds planted in earlier months”, such as the listing rules reform, “are pregnant with a future change”. 

The benchmark Hang Seng Index closed flat at 27,815.60 on Friday.

sophia@chinadailyhk.com

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