Today’s Big Story was supposed to be the tragic and disastrous collapse in Mainland tourist arrivals into Hong Kong, which is all the fault of teenagers waving flags in Sheung Shui, which behaviour in turn highlights the necessity for anti-independence laws. Rapacious capitalist landlords, dictatorial Communist patriots and the decent, sensible, law-abiding 99% of the public would thus unite to denounce evil foreign-influenced uneducated dissident bad elements aiming to destroy our livelihoods and the nation. Awkwardly, Hong Kong experiences at this very moment a Mainland flood everyone can live with: southbound cash pouring into the local stock market. So the ‘pro-dem separatists ruin precious tourism industry’ frenzy fails to make it onto the front pages.
It is a case of too many officials getting too desperate about too many things all at the same time.
In Hong Kong, the administration is feeling the heat from Beijing’s representatives and sympathizers – and the accompanying shoe-shiners – about pro-independence forces. Although no such movement exists in any substantial form, they must be seen to take it seriously. The Justice Secretary issues a statement clarifying that independence is inconsistent with Hong Kong’s constitutional status, and (he feels a need to add) with its interests. At the same time, the luxury retail chains are feeling the pinch. The ‘alarming’ year-on-year fall in Mainland visitor numbers (479,000 to 447,000) seems pretty minor, so the up-market shops are clearly feeling the effects of a weak Euro and China’s anti-corruption campaign. (Easter is not a holiday in the Mainland, and Ching Ming last year was 10 days before Easter, so comparison between the two periods’ arrivals figures is probably meaningless. Sadly.)
Meanwhile, up in Beijing the Central People’s Government is desperate about a possible economic downturn. With startling originality, the country’s leaders are trying to ramp up asset prices. Retail investors are putting savings (and borrowed money) into the Shanghai and Shenzhen markets, pushing prices up (to seriously weird levels in the case of obscure tech companies). This makes Hong Kong-listed shares of Mainland companies look relatively cheap, so cash comes down the Stock Connect channel to buy them. Seeing what analysts politely call the ‘momentum’, local funds join in the fun. From my window, I can see pro-independence activists ditching their colonial flags and lining up outside a brokerage to open day-trading accounts.
As we all know and fully appreciate, under ‘one-country-two-systems’, Beijing’s wishes come first, Hong Kong’s second. So our local administration’s mass-bed-wetting freak-out about pro-independence forces will be suspended until further notice while the Wall of Mainland Money Through-Train Frenzy takes place.
Apart from Cherubic Chow and Odd-looking Charles does anyone in Hong Kong give a stuff about the Shanghai Hong Kong Connect ? Is it another way for mainlanders to get their money out of China (technically can’t?) now that Macao is off limits ? Is it possible to post De-Golyer to Beijing U to survey the faith the average joe has in the mighty motherland and where he would prefer to park his money?
As for the average Honkie I think they are more interested in smaller queues at Park N’ Weep when they pick up their supplies of powdered Lai Lai and Yakult. Not that those ‘finger on the pulse’ HK Government folks would notice – food vans, independence still not possible and, of course, dire tourist numbers need a new infantile promo campaign …
The Hang Seng Index can thank the Federal Reserve for much of its meteoric rise. The Fed Governors, and particularly the current chairman and her predecessor, are drunk with power and their new-found status as minor media celebrities. If they take their foot off the gas pedal, all that goes away. So they’re going to be ever so reluctant to raise interest rates. Meanwhile, the massive asset inflation they have engineered in such a cavalier fashion has exacerbated greatly the wealth gap by enriching people with assets and impoverishing people without assets.
The bubble won’t burst until the last waitress and the last taxi driver have thrown their last dollars into the pot. When the stupid money is all in and the smart money has quietly made its exit, that’s when the Fed will raise rates. We’re not there yet.
“…dire tourist numbers need a new infantile promo campaign …” With none other than Jacky “China Do or Die” Chan to kick things off!
What would a “visit Hong Kong” promo campaign in Mainland China even look like?
Hong Kong: Get your LV Bags with faster service and familiar food! You’ll still save on air fare!
Hong Kong: The financial tourism capital of China! You’ll love our don’t ask, don’t tell policy!
Hong Kong: Where the milk powder usually doesn’t kill you!
@”From my window, I can see pro-independence activists ditching their colonial flags and lining up outside a brokerage to open day-trading accounts.”
That really is a good one Hemlock !
It brought a blushing smile to my already “Red under the bed ” complexion.
“The Wall of Mainland Money Through-Train Frenzy”! Goody, it will crash unguided into The Wall of Mainland Money Car-Parking-Space Purchase Frenzy and then domino into the The Wall of Mainland Overpriced-Tasteless- Consumer-Shit Frenzy for an ENORMOUS Mainland Wah-Wah-Wah wall of compensation claims and eventual toppling of the HK SAR and consequent storming of the great unelected CCCPPCCC and their brainwashed minions.
I suspect Jacky Chan has been rather more “China Do or my son might Die” in recent times…
Methinks Comrade Jacky is the kind of father that could give a flying fuck about his “son”, did the absolute minimal to ensure the idiot spawn had doors opened to start a modicum of a “career”, and is just hoping the burden of even having a child won’t cause too much unnecessary embarrassment in the future while kow-towing and licking CCP boots and flitting about shagging Beijing film academy girls 40 years his junior or polishing anuses of CCP leadership tai tais…
I don’t like Chinese Netizen’s vulgar langauge.
He would make a better commentator for the online Conservative-supporter columns of the British Daily Telegraph or Times.
Speaking of “wall of money,” I await with bated breath Hemlock’s remarks on that venerable company, Jardine, which surely has walls of the stuff, enough to pay its employees quite handsomely. I can’t wait for Hemmers’ probing analysis of what possessed JLT insurance brokerage managing director Nick Cousins (who looks in his photos like a genial pederast of the “What Me Worry” Mad magazine variety) to have behaved like a tight-assed tight-wad visavis his Pinay wife and daughters by only giving them a fancy pad in Repulse Bay, seats at the Sevens games and exempting the girls from all that pesky schooling which adolescents hate anyway. Poor Grace Garcia (who somehow looks like a sad Bloody Mary from Rogers/Hammerstein’s South Pacific, minus the gutsiness) didn’t even get his surname or any holiday trips to the UK or visits to the relatives in Pangasinan. It’s not the poor woman who should be deported for overstaying but the Brit who should be fined, flogged and put in solitary where he can spend the rest of his days counting his hoarded shekels.