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Tuesday, July 09, 2019, 00:56
Protests have business leaders worried
By He Shusi
Tuesday, July 09, 2019, 00:56 By He Shusi

Business people are feeling the pinch of the sporadic civil disturbances that rocked the city in the past several weeks.

According to a survey released on Monday by the City University of Hong Kong, the Consumer Confidence Index of the second quarter dropped by 10.5% year on year, hitting a five-year low

They complained that the demonstrations had soured the business environment and undermined investors’ confidence in the asset markets. If allowed to continue, the confusion created by the wonton protests that often turned violent could trigger a capital flight that would threaten financial stability.

David Wong Yau-kar, permanent honorary president of the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong, noted that recent demonstrations, especially the particularly violent storming and vandalizing of the legislature, have seriously smeared Hong Kong’s image and undermined global investors’ confidence.

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Wong, who’s also chairman of Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority, said that vandalizing the Legislative Council premises, which was in the international spotlight, has seriously brought the rule of law into question.

He emphasized that a stable social and political environment and the rule of law are vital to Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center. Wong lamented that the heightening of the social tension came at a time when the economy was hit hard by the Sino-US trade dispute.

Wong said that he and many other business people were worried that the heightening tension would hurt domestic consumption and tourism, noting that the protest on Sunday dealt a serious blow to the busy shopping areas and the high-speed railway. Protest organizers have threatened to stage future demonstrations in other business districts.

According to a survey released on Monday by the City University of Hong Kong, the Consumer Confidence Index of the second quarter dropped by 10.5 percent year on year, hitting a five-year low.

Consumer confidence in the city’s economic development also decreased by 23.5 percent compared to that of last year, the survey showed.

READ MORE: Trade tensions, protests hit private sector business

Eddy Li Sau-hung, another permanent honorary president of the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong, said that recent protests and heightening social tension have hit the overall economy, especially the retail and tourism sectors.

However, Li has remained confident that the disturbance won’t last and the economy could overcome the challenge because of Hong Kong’s solid economic foundation and resilient business sector, while overseas investors have remained confident in the city’s rule of law.

heshusi@chinadailyhk.com

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