Via RT Business

Hong Kong is losing its status as a major financial center as investors seek a ‘safe haven’ for their assets in places like Singapore amid rising tensions in the city, legendary investor Jim Rogers told RT.

Weeks of unrest have already taken a toll on tourism, stock and property markets, as well as the entire financial sector. Even before the recent shutdown of the airport by protesters, between July 14 and August 9, bookings to Hong Kong from Asian countries fell by more than 33 percent compared to same period last year.

The ongoing trade war between Washington and Beijing in addition to the protests affected the economic situation in the autonomous region, bringing the quarterly contraction in GDP to 0.4 percent in the three months to June. If the trend continues and losses extend in the third quarter, the city would technically fall into recession for the first time in decades.

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The deteriorating situation has been forcing investors to look for ways to move their money to a more stable place. Capital outflows happen not “because there is any immediate danger, but it indicates in the future that there will be less and less security in Hong Kong,” finance guru Jim Rogers said in an interview to RT.

According to Rogers, Singapore is one of the main beneficiaries of that capital outflow. It can be explained not only by the fact that it is easier and more convenient to deal with Singapore, as locals speak Chinese, but also by the security issues since countries like Austria or Lichtenstein are not as secure as they used to be, the investor points out.

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“This is already making Hong Kong less of a major financial center because it’s unlikely that people will take their money to Hong Kong now,” the analyst said. “So even if nobody takes their money out of Hong Kong, but people are taking it out, other people will not take their money to Hong Kong.”

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Another indicator of the capital outflow is the Hong Kong dollar, which is pegged to its US equivalent and has weakened within the pegged exchange rate over the last month, Rogers believes. He predicts that the local currency will further weaken, untie from the greenback, and eventually disappear.

“I expect the Hong Kong dollar to break free of the US dollar once the renminbi [Chinese yuan] is convertible. The Hong Kong dollar will disappear… but that will not happen until the renminbi is completely convertible,” said Rogers.

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