Just by looking at Hong Kong’s stock exchange, it wouldn’t be immediately obvious that US-Chinese relations are at their lowest point in a generation, or that the city has become a point of conflict between world powers.
Amid the political upheaval, the share price of Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearings (HKEx) has soared, and the company has reclaimed its crown as the most valuable exchange operator in the world by market capitalization. The exchange is a surprise winner from the decoupling between the world’s two biggest economic powers. It can also be seen as a proxy for how things are faring for the rest of Hong Kong’s financial sector.
If banking and other types of services were drying up, the thinking goes, it’s unlikely investors would remain bullish on the exchange, which has roots going back more than a century and provides venues for trading assets like stocks, commodities, and derivatives. “If Hong Kong is OK, then the exchange is OK,” said Dennis Lam, co-deputy head of research in Hong Kong at DBS, a Singaporean bank.