Capital Calls: HK financial standing under threat

Health workers are seen in protective gear inside a locked down portion of the Jordan residential area to contain a new outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Hong Kong, China January 23, 2021. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY – RC2FDL93D9QC

Concise insights on global finance.


INJECTING REALITY. Hong Kong’s financiers and politicians should be worried by the population’s lack of enthusiasm for vaccinations. Eddie Yue, head of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, warned on Monday that low inoculation rates could cause the Chinese special administrative region to be left out of international travel bubbles, making it a less appealing base for multinationals. Yue pointed to arch-rival Singapore, where 24% of people have had at least one dose, and the UK, where almost as many are fully vaccinated. Just 13% have had one shot in Hong Kong.

Other factors further dim the city’s appeal. A mandatory three-week hotel quarantine for non-Chinese visitors is expensive. A new law allows authorities to prevent people from leaving, which might impact commercial disputes. Hong Kong’s airport, typically busier than Singapore’s, is welcoming less than half as many visitors; travellers were down 98% year-on-year in the first quarter. Officials say their crackdown on dissent via the national security law read more is misunderstood. The list of reasons for executives to avoid Hong Kong is lengthening nevertheless. (By Jennifer Hughes)

On Twitter

Earlier in Capital Calls:

Meredith flips the switch on TV read more

Sage vs. spice read more

Apollo treads where Verizon flubbed read more

Vote is writing on Warren Buffett’s wall read more

Westpac sets lofty M&A-style cost-cutting goal read more

Reuters Breakingviews is the world’s leading source of agenda-setting financial insight. As the Reuters brand for financial commentary, we dissect the big business and economic stories as they break around the world every day. A global team of about 30 correspondents in New York, London, Hong Kong and other major cities provides expert analysis in real time.

Sign up for a free trial of our full service at and follow us on Twitter @Breakingviews and at All opinions expressed are those of the authors.