Hong Kong Daily News shuts down after 56 years

Hong Kong Daily News, a Chinese language newspaper, ceased publication as of Saturday.
Hong Kong Daily News website closes down

Statement on the Hong Kong Daily News website
After 50 years, the paper said that it had been losing money due to a change in reader habits and competition from free papers.
hong kong daily news closes
The Chai Wan-based newspaper was founded in 1959 and had a pro-Beijing stance. In 2013, it had a circulation of 70,000.

The mainlandisation of Hong Kong’s stock market

Hongkongers have much to complain about these days – mainlandisation of our schools’ curricula, mainlandisation of public spaces and leisure facilities, and most recently, even mainlandisation of street performances.
In recent months, however, another “takeover” has been happening right under our noses, but has largely gone unnoticed amid controversial electoral reforms grabbing the headlines. The Hong Kong stock market, a long-standing bellwether of the local economy, is rapidly taking on “Chinese characteristics”, and this trend bodes ill for the territory’s position as a reputable international financial hub.
hong kong photo

Some of Hong Kong’s biggest financial institutions dominate the city’s skyline. Photo: marcusuke
Last November witnessed the debut of the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect programme, allowing Hong Kong residents to buy and sell shares in the domestic Chinese stock market, hitherto accessible only to mainland citizens, and a similar link to the Shenzhen bourse is expected to be under way. The integration, however, is two-way; the exchange linkage also allows mainland residents to trade shares listed in Hong Kong.
Lowering investment restrictions and broadening investment opportunities should ordinarily be welcomed by the financial community, but there are growing concerns in the industry about rising market volatility owing to increased mainland participation in the Hong Kong stock market.
In contrast to many developed countries, stock trading in China is dominated by retail investors rather than institutions and professional investors. A recent survey conducted by the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics (西南財經大學) revealed that more than two-thirds of investors joining the stock market frenzy this past year had not attained a high school education, with six percent being outright illiterate.
Fully aware of the risk of sounding elitist, one has to admit that a disproportionate fraction of novice and under-informed investors is not a healthy situation. These inexperienced hands are prone to impulsive trading based on sentiment or even hearsay, fueling “herding” effects and exacerbating contagion when volatility spikes.
hkse stock exchange

The Hong Kong exchange trade lobby at the city’s stock exchange. Photo: Wikipedia.
With Hong Kong shares now within their reach, mainland investors’ bouts of irrational exuberance (spontaneous buying because of an auspicious ticker code?) and panic increases market risk for all participants. A widening Chinese footprint in the Hong Kong stock market is nothing new; Chinese companies already make up over 60 percent of the Hang Seng Index and have been at this level for years. Opening up the Hong Kong stock market to retail mainland investors, however, creates a disruptive negative externality that may ultimately have destabilizing effects.
In a mature capital market, prices of shares gravitate towards levels that equilibrate supply and demand, driven by investors rigorously researching their investments and analysing companies’ fundamentals. This “price discovery” role is greatly hampered when there are cadres of aunties and day-trading high school drop-outs from across the border punting their savings on penny stocks.
Crunching the numbers will reveal that, in terms of price volatility, mainland Chinese shares are currently among the riskiest in the world, second only to Greece, on par with Nigeria, Argentina, Venezuela, and Ukraine. Given the pace of mainland integration, Hong Kong won’t be far behind.

Chinese taxi app promotes operations in Hong Kong amid crackdown on Uber

A mainland China transportation firm similar to Uber has been promoting its services in Hong Kong amid a crackdown on illegal taxis in the city.
Kuaidi One is a transportation service company backed by Alibaba. It has been operating in Hong Kong since early July.
The firm has been compared to Uber as both companies were targeting customers who are seeking taxi rental services in Hong Kong.
Kuaidi One has been operating in Hong Kong since July. Photo: Kuaidi One.

Kuaidi One recently launched promotional campaigns at shopping malls in Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui. New customers received HK$100 coupons.
Taxi drivers filed police reports alleging that Kuaidi One rental cars did not have third party risks insurance, according to a report in the Hong Kong Economic Times.
In February, its mother company Kuaidi Group merged with its main competitor in China, Didi Dache.
The group currently leads the Greater China’s car-service app industry in terms of market share and transaction volume, according to Kuaidi’s website.
Kuaidi One app and its services. Photo: Kuaidi One.

Kuaidi One app and its services. Photo: Kuaidi One.
Following the crackdown on hire car companies, the government released a statement on Friday saying that it is “open to applying technology to the transport area.” It also stated that such services “must comply with Hong Kong’s laws, to take care of passengers’ benefits and safety.”
Uber, a mobile car service app, was targeted by authorities earlier this week as police raided its office and took away three staffers and seven drivers.
GoGoVan driver pleaded guilty at Kowloon City Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday to driving/using a private car for the carriage of passengers for hire or reward, as well as driving without third party risks insurance.
By law, vehicles carrying passengers for hire must obtain a hire car permit from the government. Violation of the law may result in a fine of HK$5,000 and imprisonment of three months on the first conviction, and a fine of HK$10,000 and up to six months’ imprisonment on the second conviction.

Exclusive: Asia’s most expensive house – Jack Ma’s HK$1.5 billion new Peak home in pictures

Chinese internet mogul Jack Ma has reportedly purchased a home on the Peak for HK$1.5 billion, breaking Asia’s record for the most expensive home by square-foot.
The property at 22 Barker Road was built in 1949 and renovated in the early 2000s by deceased local architect Karl Shiu Ka-leung of the KLS Planners.
Hong Kong Free Press was granted exclusive access to pictures of the house before and after its makeover.
jack ma peak home

22 Barker Road before and after its renovation. Photo: KLS Planners
Ma, Alibaba’s founder, bought the house from Francis Yuen Tin-fan, former Hong Kong Stock Exchange CEO and his wife Rose Lee Wai-mun, Hang Seng Bank chief executive. Yuen was also a former PCCW deputy chairman.
Ma paid HK$150,000 per saleable square foot for the four-storey home, the second-highest amount for a residential property in the world after a property in Nice, France, according to the Hong Kong Economic Journal.
jack ma peak home

22 Barker Road before and after its renovation. Photo: KLS Planners
The Yuens renovated the home when they bought it from the Belgian consul general in 2000.
The project, which transformed the historical house into a modern building, was architect and interior designer Shiu’s “proudest masterpiece”, said Shiu’s son Julian.
“My dad was talking about the project a lot and he took me to the house on the Peak a few times when I was little. He designed the interior as well, it was done in modern classic style. ”
jack ma peak home

22 Barker Road before and after its renovation. Photo: KLS Planners
The project took two to three years, the junior Shiu said, with building materials brought in from overseas and furniture tailor made.
The house has four ensuite rooms, three bathrooms and seven living rooms. With four big balconies across four storeys and a rooftop terrace, residents can enjoy a 220-degree view of the Victoria Harbour, Shiu said.
jack ma peak home

The sea view from 22 Barker Road. Photo: KLS Planners
Next to the house is a 20,000 square feet private garden, which includes a lawn and a small forest.
Shiu said his father applied traditional Chinese feng shui theories in designing the interior. The Yuens loved the furniture and made subtle changes to the interior in the 15 years they lived there, according to KLS Planners.
22 barker road

The house in 2011. Photo: Google Maps.
Pictures seen by HKFP showed the house was furnished in a blend of Chinese and western styles, sporting satin sofas, folding screens, black and white checkered floors and artfully rumpled ceiling-to-floor curtains.
The Yuen couple bought the property for HK$163.5 million in 2000, meaning they may have pocketed around HK$1.3 billion from the deal.
jack ma peak home

22 Barker Road after its renovation. Photo: KLS Planners
The top floor of the building was featured in Discovery Channel’s “Super Home” programme in 2006 when the couple rented it out to a banker.
jack ma peak home

Karl Shiu Ka-leung stands proudly in front of the house after its makeover. Photo: KLS Planners
Karl Shiu founded KLS Planners in 1999. His work was mainly in Hong Kong and mainland China. He died aged 58 in a tragic motorcycle crash in 2010.

Surprise gift ideas? 10 strange things you can buy from HKTV’s online shop

In case you wondered what the identical adverts that have taken over more than 3,000 billboards in all 51 MTR stations are about, they are part of an ambitious ad campaign by Hong Kong Television Network.
Despite a sharp decrease in audience and uncertainty of whether it will eventually secure a free-to-air TV license (the controversy sparked citywide protests in 2013), HKTV is expanding its business to e-commerce. Its online shop, HKTV Mall, offers a wide variety of items from around the world.
Here are 10 strange products we found:
1. An HK$999 cubic watermelon… for decoration only.
Grown in Kagawa prefecture in Japan, the cube-shaped watermelon is meant for display only as it is not ripe. The watermelon will gradually become round after a few months — or sooner if it is not stored indoors with air-conditioning.
2. “Godzilla Egg”, with a special wooden case for your memento. 
The oval watermelon is grown only on one farm in Hokkaido. It is not as big as one may imagine an egg of Godzilla would be (for comparison, the world’s heaviest watermelon weighs 159kg), but the price is certainly bewildering for a watermelon of an average weight.
3. Looking for romantic dinner ideas? Try this one-kilo (35 ounces) heart-shaped rib-eye steak.
The steak has received three positive reviews so far, all of which highlight its economical price. One reviewer wrote, “This is the second time I bought this item. The steak was thick, not too fatty nor lean, and the meat was fairly tender.”
4. An alternative to the HK$400k marriage proposal: A popup card, with a ring.
The card is made by hand in South Korea and can hold a ring of a diameter up to 20mm.
5. Never get to finish a box of condoms? You can now buy just ONE condom.
The Japanese manufacturer guarantees: “The condom is so thin and so perfect that you won’t even notice it’s there.”
6. Racist joke intended? “Cutie little black skin makes you feel like living in a jungle.”
The Chinese description of the condom, named Animal Black, says: “These rare black-coloured condoms will make you feel like you’re in a tropical rainforest.”
7. Finally! A pineapple that you can easily peel by hand.
The pineapple, from Okinawa, is smaller than average but has a very special taste, according to the vendor. “With a depth of sweetness and sourness, it will give you an unforgettable taste experience.”
This is how it works:
8. Just what every hiker in Hong Kong needs: A mosquito net to protect your face.
The headnet is rated 4.4 out of 5 on the website of outdoor retailer REI. Most reviewers were happy with it, but one warned, “The net is too small and it won’t cover your neck if you wear a hat. The model in the photo must have an unusually small head with a small hat.”
9. Enjoy the bees’ home.
The purest honey comes from the honeycomb, which is believed to have a multitude of health benefits. According to traditional Chinese beliefs, honeycomb is thought to help with digestion, pain relief and sleep quality, among other advantages.
10. The perfect garlic?
Cultivated in Kyoto, the black garlic is left to dry for more than a month in greenhouses of 60 degrees Celsius. This will reduce the strong scent of garlic and make the produce taste like dried fruit, according to the vendor.

Deregulation is Uber-disgusting! No to newcomers, innovators, modernisers and foreigners

Mr. Absolutely Ngo of the Shift Change Taxi Management Company, something of a toff in the taxi trade in that he changes his shirt daily , explained to me the Hong Kong government’s persecution of Uber quite clearly. “The licensed taxi system here is an antique business model which is in danger and must be preserved for future generations at all costs. Like prewar pawn shops and banyan trees, Hong Kong taxis are part of our local culture. We are failing to preserve the shops and the trees because there is no money in them. On the contrary, there is a lot of money outside them waiting for them to fall down and make space.
“There is a lot of money in taxis though, involving a small group of people who take part in the timeless ritual of making a bundle out Hong Kong government licensing and quotas. The symbols of this , our beloved red topped Toyotas, shimmering in their hundreds in the setting sun as they queue for gas along blocked roads, are under threat from cowboys who fill up whenever they feel like it and do not clock on and clock off all at the same time.’
hong kong taxi

Photo: Remix/Roger Price.
According to Mr. Ngo, there is no tradition of Hong Kong people having free market accessories like Uber scuttling around at their beck and call in an economy as stitched up as this one. ‘They don’t expect to get Tesco or Carrefour or Boots. Why the hell should they expect a situation where they can call a car at any time they like, with a driver who behaves like some sort of servant, takes them directly and exactly where they want to go – and no snot soiled tissues stuck down the side of the seat for them to stick their fingers in?”
‘How long have you lived here?’ he asked me. I told him quite a while. “Then this you’ll understand. People invest money in a service and receive returns out of all proportion to the people operating it and what the public gets from it. That is the Hong Kong model and the taxis are one of its proudest icons. Close to seven million for a taxi and licence, twenty thousand a month income from renting it, I’m not telling what I get for commission and fees, and $55 an hour average earning for the driver. They should teach it on MBA programmes. ”
uber police prison

“No to newcomers, innovators, modernisers and foreigners!”
He became almost teary as he told me of the treasures of the trade which Uber put under so much threat. “It is a valuable refuge for people with limited social skills and a robust indifference to their fellow men who want to move on from driving dumper trucks, fork-lifts and mortuary vans. It is a traditional opportunity for people already stressed from their day jobs, to carry passengers around at night, at speed, to pay off mounting personal debts. It requires no background checks, street knowledge or training and many older drivers still operate in the touching belief that the gas pedal is a stop-start button. This is what licensing is all about. Deregulation is disgusting! ”
He admitted that Hong Kong taxis do resemble those of other Asian cities in being unavailable or suddenly unaffordable at times when most needed, as in bad weather, after work, late at night or taking the Rottweiler to the vet. “But which other city,’ he asked, ‘has taxis in three colours, two of which cannot go to some areas and one of which can go to all of them but doesn’t want to? We are ‘Asian City in the World.’ That’s how it goes isn’t it?”
Frankie Yick, Liberal Party and transport ‘constituency’ member in Legco, is neither liberal nor greatly concerned with how people get around because he too is a keen one for prosecuting Uber drivers.
So intent is Liberal Yick on the finest detail of licensing and insurance, that people picking up friends from the airport and mothers collecting kids from school had better watch their tricky steps. Another misnomer in the Uber purge and ever wetter than a washed lettuce, is Invest Hong Kong, which suddenly pulled its once noisy support from the firm when Yick, Absolutely’s clients and the Commissioner of Police –not much improvement there- discovered that Uber was a criminal gang causing a nuisance.
‘Invest Hong Kong’ should be shaken out until it realizes what it represents and rebrands itself to ‘inVest Hong Kong’. This administration will go down in history or for five minutes at least as the ‘Vested Government’. It represents the political, commercial, social, sexual, dietary, sartorial and pigeon-fancying vested interests of the day. Newcomers, innovators, modernisers and even plain foreigners should note the Uber persecution. It sets the tone nicely.

投入香港文化懷抱

看看書名《本土文化圈滄桑史》,已經有種枯竭的感覺。不過害怕這本書太灰色的話大可放心,文中所述的實際都是香港文化界的種種,有的趣聞、有的軼事,記載橫跨數十載,儼如一本屬於香港人的野史傳記。
生於斯、長於斯。在香港度過了幾十個寒暑,生活尚算穩定,托賴動盪不多,卻欠缺一些震撼世界的大事讓我們寫入史書。不過,這個看法只對了一半。
沒錯在國際外交層面的確算不上什麼領頭羊,但在文化方面,香港卻是一篇史詩式巨著。
仍有影響力
本書分為四大篇幅的文章之中,主角不下數十,魯迅、金庸、倪匡、李小龍、周潤發、亦舒……都是恒久不衰的名字。「飛雪連天射白鹿」時至今日仍是學生熱門小說,打着Bruce Lee名號的影像作品推陳出新,發哥早前上映的《賭城風雲2》更賣個滿堂紅。他們不但讓港人吃了一遍又一遍的文化大補藥,而且北至神州、南至婆羅洲,都被這股港產力量征服。乃至演藝聖地荷里活,都刻上了香港的名字,足見其超然地位無可動搖。
時已至今,部分人物可能已經遺失在時光洪流之中,像徐訏、王世瑜、胡菊人,卻又能永遠活在我們的青瀝回憶裏。如果你曾在《明報》同步追看《衛斯理》,如果你家中還收藏着一本《天天周刊》,如果你至今仍是《武俠世界》忠實擁躉……看到書中所述「衛斯理能出版全憑一位讀者所賜」,「叱吒一時的《明報月刊》兩人編輯部」,「環球出版社稱霸文化界的要訣」等聞所未聞的秘話,豈有不追閱下去之理?另一些歷久不衰的名字,年輕一代並沒有因為他們年華老去而視之為落伍,可是「年少」卻剝奪了與偶像經歷每一點一滴的共同時間。一書在手,不但滿足了自己,還可以跟下一代分享記憶,為代溝問題打開了缺口,實在不錯。
要界定一篇文章的好與壞,其書寫角度是一個很容易判斷的切入點。本書以「我」作為出發點,描寫自身所見所聞的文章,立場鮮明,不用深刻思考,只需真切感受。
坊間不少標榜客觀持平的文章,卻沒有一個主觀視點,即是沒有感情。試問一篇沒有感情的敍事文章,又怎能觸動讀者的心靈?特別是出自真正的「我」的角度,最能反映出個人情懷,激昂萬分,帶動讀者起起伏伏,如坐過山車一樣。這裏可能衍生出另一個疑問,著名人士都有出自傳,如倪匡、亦舒等大文豪當然有推出個人傳記,不是更貼近,更好看嗎?
投入第一身
本書作者沈西城是雜誌《武俠世界》負責人,在香港文化界頗負盛名。年少的他曾經做過編劇、寫過小說,或多或少也會接觸到文化、出版及演藝界名人。他在書中所說的,大都是他年輕時的經歷,當時的他只是個打工仔,只是大哥們口中的「小沈」,身份上跟我們可沒有什麼大分別。要把自己代入倪匡的角度看世界,恐怕不易。
然而如果用「小沈」的角度,作為報社一分子,有幸參與當年明報總編輯王世瑜,韋基舜、詹培忠等名人飯局,說的不是大是大非,卻在玩迷信測字;旁聽倪匡與無名氏兩位百年鬼才的茶餘飯後,也是文學初哥的獨家專利;問及環球社長羅斌的成功之道,只消一句「蕭規曹隨」,如雷貫耳,少時有幸拜讀《藍皮書》、《新電視》、《文藝新潮》,全靠這一句話!被勾起的記憶,總是最美好。
沈先生在文化界浸淫了40年,文筆精煉,用字獨到,每一字每一句都散發出陣陣書香氣息。看他其中一句對四周環境的描述,「是秋天的黃昏吧,歸帆已盡,倦鳥回巢,從萬宜大廈往東走,到了大會堂的院子,殘葉苦黃,落花匝地,蕭寂一片。」多麼的優雅啊!不過細心的看官相信都發現得到,這種猶如高嶺之花的文章,怎可能聯想到親切二字,更遑論前文所說的投入感。
文字親切感
書中還發掘到一個重要因素,讓我們覺得彷彿身置其中,就是他對各人說話的描寫。作者將各人談話內容轉化為文字的手法,是非常特別的。他不會自我局限,而是利用不同人物的方言,說話態度和神韻,刻劃出不同角色的性格。「我沒戲唱啦!」是出自倪匡的;「催乜鬼啫,儍仔!」這個是黃霑;「阿拉等一息好好談一談。」是操上海話的無名氏;「打交邊有準備,中就係中!」正是李小龍。只是一句話,各人的氣質已經表露無遺,而且絲毫沒有難明之處。只有文字高手才有如此功力,簡潔的處理盡收引人入勝之效,這種文采今天的香港已經買少見少了。
作者本身為《蘋果日報》專欄常客, 其政治立場明顯不過,本書亦有部分章節可看到他對這個社會的激情。今時今日的香港,無時無刻都被種種問題纏繞,的確讓人有點吃不消。然而,這是一本讓你重新回味香港文化,勾起你我的回憶,甚至跟上、下一代打通隔膜的好工具,如果看到一些跟自己不同的見解,大可以平常心面對,甚至手指一動,直接翻到下一頁就好了。熱愛這片土地,熱愛本地文化的香港人,又怎能因為一個小問題,而錯過了加深對本土演藝、出版業界認識的機會?

當人類活到一百歲

當不少天體物理學家都預測宇宙最終勢必大收縮、大撕裂而逐步走向終結,地球人卻愈來愈長壽,活到80歲以上已是司空見慣,最近有研究指出,只要好好控制炎症,人類能活到100歲以上──那麼,長命百歲就是為了見證宇宙終結嗎?
宇宙是宏觀的,如果對比於人類的百年壽命,那麼,宇宙終結之期也許太遙遠而漫長了,而對人類是唯一的地球,此刻卻在發高燒,危在旦夕,與此同時,微觀的細胞學仍孜孜於探索人類長命百歲的奧秘,那無疑就構成了宏觀與微觀的一大反諷。
然而,所有科學研究最可貴的精神大概也正好在於此一反諷,不管是樂觀還是悲觀,總是永不言棄,上下求索。
那就不妨看看長命百歲有何奧秘。據《赫芬頓郵報》報道,美國老年細胞學家茲格利尼茨基(Thomas von Zglinicki)指出:百歲以上的人與眾不同,他們的衰老往往相對緩慢,他們更能在更長時間裏不生病。
而美國另一老年醫學專家戈斯蒂奇(Cheri Gostic)則指出,長命百歲的關鍵在於控制炎症(inflammation),人類要是能好好控制身體炎症,可減少患病風險。
炎症與端粒
茲格利尼茨基亦認為,控制炎症而讓它停留在低水平,就可以延緩衰老,從而可能推遲多種老年疾病的出現,因而會更長壽;此項研究還有一個重要發現,長命百歲的長者即使偶有最低慢性炎症,卻能在最長時間裏保持良好的認知能力和獨立性。由此或可見出,發炎不但影響壽命的長短,更影響人生的自主潛能。
此項研究更有一大發現:長命百歲的長者及超級長者(年齡逾110歲),都有相對較長的「端粒」(telomeres)──「端粒」是什麼?那是人體基因鏈末端的一頂帽子,可保護人類染色體,防止染色體衰老,乃至防止出現異常變化,正因如此,「端粒」長度無疑就是預測長者健康狀況的最有力的指標;研究還有一個非常重要的發現:接受調查的百歲長者有一個共通點,他們的後代「端粒」長度,往往保持着典型的六十歲水平。
無論宇宙或世界怎麼變,生命總是神奇的,人類不斷探索外太空,太空人更可在外太空享用在外太空栽植的蔬菜了,然而,卻對人體奧秘所知不多,諸如炎症與「端粒」長度的關係,倒是最近才開始知曉的。
另據《每日郵報》報道,美國一項調查研究顯示,男性矮個子相對長壽,至少他們往往比同齡的個子較高的男性更長壽,其中又以身高5呎2吋(約1.5748米)以下的男性最長壽,何以如此?皆因個子較矮的男性更容易形成較低的血液胰島素水平,故此不太容易患上癌症。
愈矮愈長壽
研究人員將8000名男性按身高分為兩組:一組是身高5呎2吋以下者,另一組說是5呎4吋(約合1.62米)以上者;在身高與壽命對比的研究中發現,身高不足5呎2吋的受試者最長壽。
接受測試的長者都是出生於1900年至1919年的日本裔美國男性,結果顯示,受試者中有大概1200名男性的壽命都超過90歲,長命百歲的人有近250人仍在世。
參與此項研究的夏威夷大學教授威爾考斯(Bradley Willcox)有此說法:身高在5呎2吋以下的男性壽命最長,而個子愈高,則壽命愈短──儘管此項調查的結果並沒有絕對性,但至少可提供身高與壽命之間關係的證據;威爾考斯又指出,此項研究已首次表明,男性身高與FOXO3基因有關。
那麼,FOXO3基因到底是什麼呢?簡而言之,那是人類基因編碼的蛋白質,常被稱為腫瘤抑制器,其異常狀況影響了細胞的分裂。或者可以這樣說,如果此項研究的結果屬實──個子愈矮愈長壽,而個子愈高則壽命愈短,那倒證明了造物主是公平的,矮個子雖然在年輕之時往往吃虧,卻活得相對長久。
此項美國研究並不是孤例,另一項發表於2012年的研究亦有類似的研究,該研究追蹤了500名生活在意大利撒丁島、出生於1866年至1915年之間的男性,調查結果亦發現了個子較矮的男性比個子較高的,壽命長了兩年。

貨幣戰虛驚 買股是時候

美股周三揮去人民幣大貶值的陰霾,道指最多跌276點,隨後跌幅收窄,至收市僅跌0.33點。恒指昨天在騰訊(00700)帶動下,上漲0.43%;國指升0.34%;滬深300指數升1.48%。股市的表現告訴大家沒有貨幣戰爭,反而人民幣大幅貶值的疑雲漸散了。
昨天人民幣中間價雖然仍然向下,但幅度已經收窄,由周二的1.86%、周三的1.66%,收窄至昨天的1.1%,優化中間價的釐定方法後,中間價主要反映市場的滙率。市場這幾天發生了什麼事呢?
套息拆倉盤告一段落
周二人民幣中間價貶值後,美滙指數下挫,歐羅兌美元滙價則大升,由1.1019升至周三美國時段的1.1214,升勢之強,頗為罕見。市傳是由於有大量借歐羅買人民幣資產的套息交易拆倉,加速了歐羅升值,令人民幣及美元滙價下滑。不過,昨天已見歐羅兌美元滙價開始形成下降趨勢,拆倉盤似乎已告一段落,執筆時歐羅報1.1105美元,人民幣滙改的震盪近尾聲。如果昨晚歐羅的跌勢沒有逆轉【圖1】,則人民幣中間價今天早上應會出現3天以來首度回升。
人民銀行官員昨天早上特別為今次滙率變動召開記者會,副行長易綱對有傳聞指出,官方要把人民幣貶值10%以促進出口,澄清這是無稽之談。人行行長助理張曉慧也說:「一段時間以來,中間價與市場滙率偏離的幅度比較大,影響了中間價的市場基準地位和權威性。根據市場調查和分析師的普遍估計,這種既與國內因素有關,也與國際因素有關的偏差大約累積了3%左右,而這種誤差不可能持續的;會繼續通過增強中間價的市場化程度和基準性加以調整,以免失衡過度累積。」
這說法也道出中國經濟過往存在的問題,一要控制利率,二要固定滙率,三要外滙管制,這簡直是不可能的任務,導致社會資源經常錯配,經濟周期起伏大,三兩年過熱,一調控又過冷,一個根本原因是人為干預太多。今次優化滙率機制,令滙價更貼近市場,對經濟自我調節會有正面作用。今次人行主動向外界公開解釋情況,有助消除外界對掀起貨幣戰爭的疑惑,值得加分。
人幣中間價今料回升
從【圖2】可見,人民幣滙制市場化後,經一番折騰,官方中間價與離岸價頗為貼近,今次滙改的目的已達成,加上套息盤完成拆倉,相信人民幣中間滙率市場化引發的波動已平息,相信中間價今天早上應可隨美元反彈。
股市是危與機並存,【圖3】是新興市場ETF(EEM)的走勢,代表着新興市場指數,當中,香港的中資股比例頗重,由2009年中至今,大部分時間都在上落通道每股35美元至45美元之間徘徊。近月由於商品價格大跌、中國經濟不景、美國可能加息、外資撤離等因素,EEM跌至上落區底部,不少負面因素都在股價反映出來。不過,只要有對商品市場或中國較有利的消息出現,EEM可能觸底回升,新興市場投資氣氛改善,對港股十分有利。
講開新興市場,對不少外國基金而言,佐丹奴(00709)是一隻老牌新興市場概念股。早在上世紀九十年代,不少外資大行推銷中國人每人買一件佐丹奴T恤都不得了的故事。回想起來,這種推銷手法真是好笑。
佐丹奴股東飲得杯落
今時今日,大部分中國人的確買得起佐丹奴T恤,但市場上卻有甚多選擇,有國際名牌,也有國產牌子,競爭十分激烈。20多年後的今天,佐丹奴新鮮滾熱辣的中期業績顯示,上半年中國市場錄得營業額7.6億元,經營溢利4100萬元,可見新興市場的故事很多時都是一場空,較為適宜炒波幅。
本欄不是認為佐丹奴不值得投資,觀乎其昨天公布的中期業績,在亞洲經營環境困難的情況下,該公司營業額能夠升2%,股東應佔溢利急增20%,更派中期息12.5仙,增加19%,主要原因是成本控制得宜。佐丹奴有這樣的成績,股東們應該飲得杯落。

HTC全球裁員15% 料逾2300人失業


HTC最新公布一項運營規劃,包括設立全新事業單位,以更明確的目標帶動包括高端智能手機、虛擬現實與智能生活鏈接裝置等關鍵領域的獲利增長。

HTC稱,要通過整體運營規劃減少35%的運營費用,其中包括預計在全球範圍內裁員15%。這意味著是次裁員行動中,將有2300多人失去工作。
HTC董事長兼CEO王雪紅表示,HTC目前正積極發展智能手機以外的多元領域,因此需要富有彈性與活力的團隊。新的運營規劃將更明確各部門的目標,以期扭轉頹勢。