Hong Kong will have the most to worry about with shock Trump win

Updated: 2016-11-10 10:15

By Peter Liang(HK Edition)

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Hong Kong's stock market sank almost 1,000 points, or more than 4 percent, in early trading on Wednesday as investors watched in dismay, with Republican candidate Donald Trump heading for a shock victory in the US presidential election.

Elsewhere in the region, Japan's Nikkei Average tumbled 919.8 points, or 5.36 percent, at the close of trading, while Shanghai's benchmark stocks index fell 0.62 percent.

Trump's upset win is widely expected to let off a host of uncertainties that will cloud global investment markets for months to come. His campaign rhetoric pointed to a sharp shift in US trade and foreign policies if he took over the helm of the world's biggest economy.

Now that he's set to be inaugurated as the 45th US president in January next year, he'll be in the position to initiate those changes. That frightened investors around the world, sending the price of gold, a favorite safe-haven asset, up more than 4 percent.

It's Trump's trade protectionist stance, which is widely credited for helping him win the election, that has irked many Asian economies. Although his victory may not spell the end of globalization, it's expected to inhibit the expansion in global trade.

In this respect, Hong Kong, as a regional trading hub, has the most to worry about. The SAR's exports trade - a pillar of the city's economy, which consists mainly of re-exports to and from the Chinese mainland - has been in retreat for more than a year. Additional tariff barriers likely to put up by the Trump administration could further restrict transpacific trade.

However, there seems to be one bright spot in the investment environment under Trump. US energy and oil companies may gain new momentum when he starts dismantling some of the restrictive environmental regulations.

In his election campaign, the brash billionaire and former reality TV star told his supporters they could resume digging for coal if he became president. Supposedly, they can soon do a lot of other things under a Trump administration that they're forbidden to do under the existing environmental protection law.

With the US Congress controlled by the Republicans, Trump has the power to initiate drastic changes. And that's where all the uncertainties lie.

Hong Kong will have the most to worry about with shock Trump win

(HK Edition 11/10/2016 page8)