The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill Tuesday aimed at supporting protesters in Hong Kong and warning China against a violent suppression of the demonstrations, a challenge to Beijing as trade negotiations continue. The Senate measure would require annual reviews of Hong Kong’s special status under U.S. law to assess the extent to which China has chipped away the city’s autonomy. Protesters are calling for demonstrations to continue in Hong Kong on Wednesday, with some suggesting blocking roads and disrupting rail services, according to a social media post. Hospitals were overwhelmed with injured protesters who were evacuated from a university campus after a standoff with police that’s transfixed the city. Schools were due to reopen Wednesday following days of chaos in the financial hub. But as the city’s unrest worsens, even its homegrown bankers are considering moving away.
Reliance Industries, run by Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, has eclipsed BP to break into an elite club of energy supermajors. The Indian conglomerate’s market capitalization was about $133 billion, overtaking the British energy giant’s $132 billion value at the close of trading on Tuesday. Reliance’s shares have increased at three times the pace of India’s benchmark index this year after its billionaire owner in August announced plans to cut the company’s net debt to zero in 18 months through measures including a stake sale in the oil-to-chemicals business to Saudi Aramco.Elite Club
The European Union is poised to say potential 5G suppliers will be evaluated based on their home country’s laws, a stance that could exclude Chinese businesses from some lucrative contracts for the advanced telecommunications networks. “Factors, such as the legal and policy framework to which suppliers may be subject to in third countries, should be considered,” according to a draft of a joint statement obtained by Bloomberg and planned for release next month. The document is due to be approved on an informal basis this week by government envoys with formal sign off by ministers due in December, and the wording is subject to changes. The EU statement outlines the bloc’s position following a risk assessment that described a nightmare scenario where hackers or hostile states could take control of everything from electricity grids to police communications. It warned against reliance on suppliers from countries with non-democratic systems of government.
Equity markets across the Asia Pacific region looked set for a cautious start, with stock futures edging lower in Japan, Hong Kong and Australia. U.S. equity gauges were mixed as investors weighed disappointing reports from retailers with new developments in the American-China trade saga. Ten-year Treasury yields dipped below 1.8%, while oil tumbled. The dollar fluctuated against its major peers after President Donald Trump said he “protested” U.S. interest rates that he considers too high in a meeting with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell at the White House. The Fed said Powell’s remarks were “consistent” with his recent public comments.
What we’ve been reading
This is what’s caught our eye over the last 24 hours.
- Australia plans to fast-track A$3.8 billion of infrastructure projects.
- Singapore minister warns Hong Kong style situation could happen there.
- DNA tests for babies are booming in China.
- Amazon pours record into lobbing, but reaps little in reward.
- Japan edges closer to ratifying Trump’s “phase one” trade deal.
- How one shareholder detective in Japan is helping firms fight activists.
- SoftBank is selling an ultra-high-end Roomba competitor.