Protests in Hong Kong Impact on Investors

Investors have been impacted by the protests currently taking place in Hong Kong. The protests have left their mark on those whose investment portfolios include exposure to Hong Kong in a range of ways.

Pro-democracy protestors have been occupying spaces outside government buildings in reaction to recent government decisions. The protestors are unhappy about reforms which allow future leaders to be democratically elected, but only by a comparatively small group of people who have been approved to vote by Beijing. Early on Monday morning, riot police fired tear gas at thousands of protestors, and there are concerns that the situation could further intensify before things come to an end. These protests are being called the most severe political unrest that Hong Kong has seen in the seventeen years since the former British territory was handed back to China in 1997.

The protests are having a significant economic impact, which is in turn having an effect on investors’ portfolios. A number of large banks have announced that their operations in Hong Kong are to be suspended. Many branches, cash withdrawal machines, and cash deposit machines are being closed amidst the unrest, and many staff are being instructed to go to secondary sites or to simply stay at home.

A number of businesses are also being affected by the unrest. It is believed that the most vulnerable business types will include retailers and those whose activities relate to tourism or benefit from tourist trade. This is particularly true with the approach of China’s National Day Holidays this week, usually a peak tourist season.

These economic factors are naturally impacting upon investments in the region. Those who hold investments in Hong Kong’s stock market, for example, have seen their portfolios affected by the unrest as the market suffers. By the end of Monday’s session, the Hang Seng index found itself 449 points lighter than it had been when it began. This represents a rapid 1.9% drop, with the market eventually closing at 23,229.21.

Forex traders with investments in Hong Kong have also been affected by the protests. In light of unrest, the value of the Hong Kong dollar against the US dollar plummeted. It ended up at a six month low of just 0.13 US dollars (GB£0.079).

According to IG Markets’ Ryan Huang: “The recent stream of China macro data has not been particularly strong to bolster investor confidence, and worsening sentiment will not do the markets any favours.”

Easyjet is Planning to Initiate 2, 500 Jobs at London Luton Airport

Easyjet has made an official statement that it will create 2, 500 jobs and will double its presence at London Luton Airport if the Government allows expansion plans to be put into motion.

One of the goals that Easyjet has set in front of itself is to increase its passenger numbers from 4 million to 9 million in the period of one year. Also, the company is planning to include more destinations.

However, these plans partially depend on advancements that are supposed to be implemented by the airport. There are demands,  coming from campaign groups who want Easyjet  to be required to quiet the engines of its planes, as well as avoid night flights.

Currently, the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles is reviewing a decision which was taken at the end of 2013 by the Luton Borough Council which approved increasing airport passengers from 10 million to 18 million per year.

The work is planned to be completed by 2026 and is expected that the airport will have twenty passenger screening lanes, nine luggage reclaim belts and more retail and seating areas. All those changes are aimed to meet the prospective growth in passenger numbers.

Nevertheless, despite the review, Easyjet has signed a new 10-year deal with London Luton airport after the new owners Ardian and AENA have shown a long-term evidence of investment and a dedication to develop the site. At the moment Easyjet has 15 aircraft at the airport and 1, 600 staff. The hopes are that there will be 20% increase in capacity during the upcoming year.

The airport does not have to do a new runway in order to show a real and direct contribution to the need for more airport capacity in the South East. However, other organizations point out to the increasing noise trend at Luton Airport and demand that effective action are taken in order to tackle it. There is nothing bad in creating extra jobs and benefits to passengers but issues like noise should not be ignored. Noise is a kind of pollution and therefore, businesses that create noise have to invest in the alleviation of its effects, as well as have to constrain the hours when noise is made. It is expected that Easyjet will make specific proposals that will balance its announcements in the near future.