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Hong Kong: Banks Relocating, Port Authorities Mum

Hong Kong: Banks Relocating, Port Authorities Mum

Los Angeles, CA – Updates on the continuing situation in Hong Kong…

* US Secretary of State John Kerry and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi are holding talks today in Washington, DC that are expected to address the growing political crisis in Hong Kong.

“This is obviously a prominent issue in the news, one the secretary is well aware of, and I expect it will be a part of this discussion,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

* The Hong Kong stock exchange “insists” it will continue to operate as normal but the Hong Kong Monetary Authority says 17 banks – including Standard Chartered and HSBC Holdings – have been forced to close 29 branches across the city.

A number of financial sector firms are moving staff to contingency premises on the outskirts of the city. According to media reports, JP Morgan, Bank of America, CITIC Securities, HSBC, Société Générale and Barclays are considering the option of moving staff to ‘back office’ sites outside Hong Kong. On Monday, it was reported that 44 branches, offices or ATMs from 23 different banks had been temporarily shut down in the face of protests.

* Earlier this week, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority said it was standing by to provide additional liquidity if required.

* Concerns are growing over the possible impact of the demonstrations on the movement of goods in and out of Hong Kong’s container terminals. Information is scarce on cargo movement at the port as, to date, neither the Hong Kong government, the Hong Kong Container Terminal Operators Association, nor the Hong Kong Liner Shipping Association have issued statements on the situation.

* Mobile messaging app FireChat has reportedly been downloaded more than 200,000 times in Hong Kong since Monday. FireChat allows users to bypass mobile networks, meaning it is easier to bypass the strict censorship rules recently applied by the Chinese authorities.

* Users of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter in Hong Kong have had their access blocked.

* L’Oreal, the world’s top cosmetics group, has suspended all business travel to Hong Kong until “at least” Monday, October 6. The French company has a major subsidiary based in Hong Kong that serves the company’s huge customer base in Asia. Italian luxury group Prada said today that it is was monitoring the situation on a hourly basis and closing shops early when necessary.

Domestic Hong Kong rival Tod’s also said its Hong Kong shops located in the Landmark and Pacific Place shopping malls had closed one hour early on Sunday and Monday, in line with guidance issued by the affected shopping malls.