Hong Kong police stormed a university in Kowloon after an overnight standoff with protesters, news reports said, leading to intense clashes as multiple fires burned. An intense weekend of protests culminated in the standoff at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, where an unknown number of protesters have been holed up for several days. A police media-liaison officer suffered an arrow wound to his leg during the standoff, and an officer fired three live rounds after protesters surrounded an ambulance escorting an injured demonstrator who had been arrested. None of the bullets hit anyone, police said. Disruption to the city continues, with Hong Kong schools still suspended on Monday and signs the city’s job market is starting to crack.
Asia stocks looked poised for a mixed start to the week as investors continued to wait for trade progress and Hong Kong braced for more disruption. Currencies were steady early Monday. Futures pointed to modest gains in Japan and Hong Kong, and were little changed in Australia. The S&P 500 Index on Friday reached another record in a sixth week of gains, the longest streak in two years, after White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said negotiations between the U.S. and China were nearing the final stages.
Saudi Arabia set a valuation target for Aramco’s IPO well below Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s goal of $2 trillion and pared back the size of the sale to ensure the world’s largest oil producer successfully lists on the Riyadh stock exchange next month. The Saudi central bank also relaxed lending limits to boost demand from local investors after bankers were unable to convince many international money managers of the merits of the deal. Aramco will sell just 1.5% of its shares on the the local stock exchange, about half the amount that had been considered, and seek a valuation of between $1.6 trillion and $1.71 trillion.
President Donald Trump addressed Kim Jong Un on Twitter, saying that Democrat Joe Biden isn’t a “rabid dog” as recently dubbed by state media in Pyongyang, but urging North Korea to “act quickly” to sign a nuclear deal with the U.S. Trump’s tweet on Sunday came hours after North Korea ruled out any denuclearization talks with the U.S. unless Washington lifts what were termed “hostile policies” against the regime, according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency. “Joe Biden may be Sleepy and Very Slow, but he is not a ‘rabid dog,”’ Trump tweeted Sunday. KCNA last week said of Biden that he “must be beaten to death with a stick, before it is too late.” Nonetheless, Trump concluded his tweet with a breezy, “See you soon!” There are currently no announced plans for a meeting between the two leaders, who’ve met three times since June 2018.
The Trump administration’s trade war is ravaging exports to China across the U.S. and well beyond the farm belt, new data from the U.S. Commerce Department show. More than 30 states stretching from Florida to Alaska suffered double-digit drops in merchandise exports to China through September of this year. Sales to the Asian nation fell 39% in Texas, where oil and gas products comprise the largest export to that country. Exports to China support more than a million U.S. jobs, according to the U.S.-China Business Council, which represents American companies doing business in China.
What We’ve Been Reading
This is what’s caught our eye over the past 24 hours.
- Hong Kong’s financial elite are shunning local schools.
- Malaysian stocks are getting cheaper by the day. But few want to buy them.
- Australia’s pension giants join the global push into private credit.
- India’s central bank chief faces an increasingly tough balancing act.
- Women are deserting trading floors.
- Prince Andrew’s BBC interview threatens to be the British royal family’s biggest PR disaster in decades.
- The sister of Snapchat’s founder launches an audio erotica startup.