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Monday, July 22: Five Things You Need to Know to Start...

Business Maverick

Business Maverick

Monday, July 22: Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day

epaselect Japanese Prime Minister and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) President, Shinzo Abe, puts red rose marks on the names of the party's victorious candidates in the Upper House election, at the LDP headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, 21 July 2019. Exit polls suggest that Abe's LDP and its junior coalition partner, Komeito, will win over half of the seats being contested for the Upper House. EPA-EFE/KIMIMASA MAYAMA
By Bloomberg
22 Jul 2019 0

Hong Kong protests descend into violence again, the U.K. steps in to lower Iran oil tensions, and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe falls short of a supermajority despite election win. Here’s what’s moving markets.

Hong Kong Unrest

Hong Kong police fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators who had earlier surrounded China’s main local government office, as an otherwise peaceful protest march turned tense late Sunday.  Clashes broke out as police attempted to clear the remnants of the latest mass rally against the government and its now-suspended effort to allow extraditions to mainland China.  The march marked the sixth straight week of anti-government rallies that have put increasing pressure on the financial hub’s administration. Organizers said 430,000 people turned out for Sunday’s march, while the police said 138,000 attended at its peak. Meanwhile, fights also broke out away from the city center, in a suburb close to Shenzhen along the mainland Chinese border.

Iran Oil Tensions

The U.K. sought to lower tensions after Iran seized a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday, an incident that increased friction in one of the world’s critical energy chokepoints. The U.K. demanded the immediate release of the Stena Impero and on Saturday summoned Iran’s charge d’affaires, Mohsen Omidzamani, in London. While the government threatened Iran with “serious consequences” and advised U.K. ships to avoid the area, ministers on Sunday sought to dial down the rhetoric.

Markets Open

Stocks in Asia looked set to kick off the week on the backfoot following declines in the U.S. session Friday as traders wound back bets on a more aggressive Federal Reserve policy move. Oil remains in focus during mounting tension in the Persian Gulf. Events to watch out for this week: earnings season rolls on with companies including Amazon.com, Alphabet, Unilever, Caterpillar, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Boeing; U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s successor will be announced on Tuesday; and the European Central Bank will deliver a policy decision Thursday.

Japan’s Election

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe claimed victory in Sunday’s upper house election while falling short of securing a supermajority to quickly push through his plans to make the first revisions to the country’s pacifist constitution. Abe wants to add wording that makes explicit the legality of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces to the war-renouncing Article 9 of the constitution — though this idea divides the electorate. The document has remained unchanged since it was enacted in the aftermath of World War II.  Abe and other proponents of constitutional change fell short of the 85 seats that would have given them a two-thirds majority needed to send any proposed constitutional revision to a national referendum, NHK said.

Seeking Tariff Exemptions

Some Chinese companies are applying for tariff exemptions as they make inquiries about buying U.S. agricultural products, more than a week after President Donald Trump complained that China hasn’t increased its purchases of American farm products. China and the U.S. are implementing the agreement reached by Trump and President Xi Jinping when they met in Japan last month, the report said. There are still deep differences between the two nations, with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross cautioning the talks would be a “long, involved process.”

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