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November 21, Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day

Demonstrators form a human chain to move supplies during a protest in Tsim Sha Tsui district of Hong Kong, China, on Monday, Nov. 18, 2019. Protesters clashed with police in chaotic scenes as dozens fled Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Kowloon, leading to multiple arrests and injuries, as a standoff continued in the heart of the city. Photographer: Justin Chin/Bloomberg

Congress votes to send bill supporting Hong Kong protesters to Trump, Alibaba prices its share sale, and how Asia will feed its growing population. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about. 

Over to Trump

The U.S. Congress overwhelmingly voted to send a bill supporting Hong Kong protesters to President Donald Trump, setting up a confrontation with China that could imperil a long-awaited trade deal between the world’s two largest economies. The bill, approved unanimously by the Senate Tuesday, passed the House 417-1 and could go to Trump as soon as Thursday to be vetoed or signed into law. The bill would require annual reviews of Hong Kong’s special status under U.S. law and sanction officials deemed responsible for human rights abuses and undermining the city’s autonomy. Trump is expected to sign the bill, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Alibaba Raising

In one of the largest share sales globally, Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. confirmed it raised about HK$88 billion ($11.2 billion) in its Hong Kong offering. It marks the biggest equity offering in the financial hub since 2010. The company said it priced 500 million new shares at HK$176 each. The price represents a 2.9% discount to the last close of Alibaba’s American depository shares in New York, with each equal to eight ordinary shares of the internet company.

Impeachment Process

U.S. envoy Gordon Sondland said Rudy Giuliani — working at President Donald Trump’s direction — demanded a quid pro quo from Ukraine by holding up a White House meeting unless the country’s leader announced investigations that would benefit Trump politically. “I know that members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a ‘quid pro quo?’ As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes,” Sondland said in his opening statement to the House impeachment inquiry on Wednesday. Sondland said the demands on Ukraine for a White House visit were relayed through Giuliani, which he understood were coming from the president. But he also testified that he never directly heard from Trump that military aid or the visit were conditional on a public statement about investigations.

Cautious Markets

American equity futures dipped and stocks in Asia looked set for a cautious start after support from the U.S. Congress for Hong Kong protesters set up the potential for further confrontation with China as investors await a trade deal. The yen edged higher. S&P 500 futures fell and Treasury contracts nudged higher as a person familiar with the matter said President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill. Futures in Hong Kong slipped and Australian equities opened lower.

Food Needs

Asia’s food and agricultural industry will need additional investments of $800 billion over the next decade to grow to a sustainable size and reach a point where it can feed itself, according to a report. Population growth, changing consumer needs and climate change are among the challenges. The region is urbanizing rapidly, and by 2030 will be home to 250 million more people, equivalent to another Indonesia, with a growing appetite for healthy food sustainably and ethically sourced, according to PwC, Rabobank and Temasek Holdings Pte, Singapore’s state investment company. Most of the investment, or about $550 billion, will fund core needs revolving around sustainability, safety, health and convenience, while the other $250 billion is to provide increased amounts of food for the growing population.

What we’ve been reading

This is what’s caught our eye over the last 24 hours.


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