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HSBC Shares Climb as Release of Meng Seen Easing Sino-US Tensions

Release of Meng Wanzhou may signal thaw in chilly US-China ties, brings relief to global bank at centre of storm

HSBC headquarters in Hong Hong. Photo: Reuters

 

Hong Kong-listed shares of HSBC rose by the most in four months on Monday as the release of an executive at telecoms company Huawei fuelled hopes the global bank would benefit from an easing in tensions between the US and China.

Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou arrived in China on Saturday ending her near three-year US extradition fight, the same day two Canadians detained by Beijing for more than 1,000 days returned home.

Meng, the daughter of Huawei Technologies founder Ren Zhengfei, was allowed to go home after reaching an agreement with US prosecutors on Friday over fraud charges for allegedly misleading HSBC in 2013 about the telecom equipment giant’s business dealings in Iran.

HSBC stock rose as much as 3.5% to HK$41.10 ($5.3) in their biggest intraday percentage gain since May 28. HSBC was the second-biggest gainer in the Hang Seng Finance Index. The stock was up 2.1% in the afternoon trade.

 

DIPLOMATIC DISCORD

“Anticipation that the bank’s mainland business may benefit from the easing tension provides an additional support to HSBC,” said Linus Yip, chief strategist at First Shanghai Group, adding bank stocks were being broadly supported by rising US Treasury bills.

HSBC, whose mainland and Hong Kong operations accounted for 39% of its annual $50.4 billion in revenue in 2020, declined to comment.

The extradition drama had been a central source of discord between Beijing and Washington, with Chinese officials signalling that the case needed to be dropped to help end a diplomatic stalemate.

The agreement opens US President Joe Biden to criticism from Washington’s China hawks who argue his administration is capitulating to China and one of its top companies at the centre of a global technology rivalry between the two countries.

 

• Reuters with additional editing by Mark McCord

 

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Mark McCord

Mark McCord is a financial journalist with more than three decades experience writing and editing at global news wires including Bloomberg and AFP, as well as daily newspapers in Hong Kong, Sydney and Melbourne. He has covered some of the biggest breaking news events in recent years including the Enron scandal, the New York terrorist attacks and the Iraq War. He is based in the UK. You can tweet to Mark at @MarkMcC64371550.

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