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Hong Kong's Property Tycoons Face a Political Typhoon

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Updated Oct. 4, 2019 5:45 am ET
Hong Kong’s real-estate developers are being boxed into a corner by the city’s incendiary politics. Whatever way the protests end, the lucrative sector is emerging as a likely loser.
Hong Kong’s economy is being hammered by violent clashes between protesters and police on the city’s streets. Chronic problems with housing affordability, pegged by Beijing as a convenient cause of the distress, make developers an easy target.
The Hong Kong purchasing manager’s index, compiled by IHS Markit , came in at 41.5 for September, barely above the 40.8 recorded for August. Any figure below 50 indicates that activity is contracting, and a fourth-quarter average figure of 42 would be consistent with a 3% drop in output. That is in line with data earlier this week that showed plunging retail sales in August, down 23% year on year, the worst reading on record.

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