Business

HK’s role in global finance intact despite social unrest: Fitch

BENGALURU: Hong Kong's role in global finance is intact, with little evidence to suggest social unrest in the city has adversely impacted that role, global credit rating agency Fitch Ratings said yesterday.

However, it added that the prolonged protests are undermining perceptions that Hong Kong is a stable international business hub and that a weaker view of its governance could impact its credit rating directly.

The city has seen more than six months of pro-democracy demonstrations.

In September, Fitch had downgraded Hong Kong's long-term foreign currency issuer default rating to AA from AA+ following months of protests.

It said yesterday that while Hong Kong's short-term outlook continues to deteriorate, the medium-term prospects seem more positive.

The economy has sunk into its first recession in a decade, with businesses under pressure from the protests and protracted US-China trade war.

Fitch added that the recent listing of Alibaba Group on the Hong Kong stock exchange portrays Hong Kong's role as the "flagship off-shore financing centre" for Chinese companies.

On recent US legislation supporting protesters, which has angered China, Fitch said it was largely symbolic but shows changing global perceptions of Hong Kong could have economic spillovers. - REUTERS

BUSINESS & FINANCE