ANALYSTS' VIEW-What people are saying about Hong Kong's new national security law

HONG KONG, July 1 (Reuters) - Beijing's new security laws for Hong Kong will punish crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison, heralding a more authoritarian era for the Asian financial hub.

The laws came into effect on Wednesday, 23 years after Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule, with many in the city fearing the they will crush wide-ranging freedoms promised to Hong Kong under a "one country, two systems" style of governance.

Here's what financial analysts are saying about the legislation:

IMRE SPEIZER, WESTPAC MARKET STRATEGIST, AUCKLAND

"The laws, combined with the change in Hong Kong’s status from the U.S. is another development in the U.S. and China cold war that has been going on for a long time. It has not taken people by surprise but it’s an unwelcome development. It’s one of a number of geopolitical factors which is a negative for some asset classes now.”

CMC MARKETS CHIEF STRATEGIST MICHAEL MCCARTHY, SYDNEY

“Markets have been well prepared for these laws, it’s not unexpected because it has been well flagged by Beijing. Hong Kong stocks have been trading at a significant valuation discount for some time. The price to earnings ratio of the Hang Seng Index is 11 times, that is very low compared to markets around the region so stocks in Hong Kong have been at a discount. The laws are not a positive for the outlook of Hong Kong stocks, there’s been a sense of inevitability about this.”

MARC CHANDLER, CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST, BANNOCKBURN FOREX, NEW YORK

"The China law is just a formality. We knew China was going to pass the law and the U.S. has already taken some action against Hong Kong. There was some interesting work from the Peterson Institute on this. If Hong Kong would be subject to the same tariffs as China, what would that mean? The conclusion is that because Hong Kong specializes in financial services and logistics, that it won't be affected that much by the tariffs. I agree with that. The law is merely symbolic. For the United States, this means that tensions in China and with China will persist well after the U.S. elections."

HASNAIN MALIK, HEAD OF EQUITY RESEARCH, TELLIMER (DUBAI)

"With the release of the full detail of the law, it should be clear to those in any doubt that this is not the Hong Kong they grew up in. But this tighter security environment has been on the way for many years now. The difference is that U.S. and China relations are far worse and this could be used as a pretext to impede the role of Hong Kong as a finance hub."

(Reporting By Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong; Editing by Michael Perry)

07/01/2020 2:07

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