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“I thought we lived in an autonomous collective…?” Python, Monty

The world has been captivated this week by the Conservative Party Conference.

It is at times more Pythonesque than Python.

I half expected Boris of Nazareth to fling open the windows of a stage set and stand there starkers whilst Theresa shouted: “He’s not the messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!”

At another sideshow, Jacob Rees-Mogg was chased by adoring crowds shouting “Give us a sign, Oh lord.”

Jacob has not yet mastered the miracle of the juniper berries let alone the Northern Irish border with the Republic.

Frankly it will be a miracle if he ever becomes PM.

Though I have a sense he sits well with those who yearn for the lost age of Dickens, when small children went up chimneys.

And by golly they may have to do so again at this rate.

As Blue As Our Passports…

The show was stolen, however by the revelation of Michel Barnier to Saint Theresa.

Theresa: “How much? Quick.”

Michel le Haggler: “What?”

Theresa: “For the blue passports.”

Michel le Haggler: “Oh. Uhhh, 60 billion Euros.”

Theresa: “Right.”

Michel le Haggler: “What?”

Theresa: “There you are.”

Michel le Haggler: “Wait a minute…”

Theresa: “What?”

Michel le Haggler: “Well, we're, uhhh, we're supposed to haggle, no?”

And so the Brexit negotiations go on and on and on.

Meanwhile in the Pearl of the Orient…

Next week in Hong Kong, Carrie the Lam will present her annual policy address.

This won’t be quite as exciting as the British conference season.

The idea that Carrie could sashay up to the podium to Material Girl defies belief. This is a Chief Executive who does not know how to use public transport and had to ask for help when she ran out of Izal.

Her speech is of course eagerly awaited. She is expected to give some insights into how Hong Kong will deal with its housing crisis.

Her range of options include: resurrecting Atlantis from the sea near Lantau Island, building on Fanling Golf Club, cutting the size of the country parks, taking over farmland in the New Territories and building on brownfield sites.

Only one of those options makes any real sense so my money is on one or more of the other four.

Commandeering the golf course would be especially popular with les Tricoteuses. I can hear the merry sound of guillotines being sharpened now.

Meanwhile the Hang Seng index slips further from the giddy heights of almost 33,500 to languish today at 26,572 (at the time of writing).

I think that creeps into bear territory.  And I am sure Carrie the Lam and her finance guru Dennis the Dachshund will have a cheery message on this subject – something along the lines of interest rates are rising, house prices are about to plummet and we’re all doomed.

Let’s blame Trump and the Fed.

To underscore how bad things are here, that venerable institution known simply as the Bank, or Hong Kong Bank (none of this HSBC rubbish) raised its Prime Rate by 12.5bp.

Yes, you read that right.

Twelve and a half basis points! On HIBOR (our dog’s favourite poo-paper), the South China Mourning Post said: Hong Kong’s short-term money market rates soared to their highest in at least a decade….The Hong Kong interbank offered rate (Hibor), a gauge of short-term lending between banks, with a maturity of one day, jumped 176 basis points to 3.38 per cent, its highest level since 2007.

So there we have it. The world is ending and we won’t have to worry about building on the Eden Course after all.

Life in HK is not entirely a bowl of sour cherries though.

We have had fireworks this week - real, smoky, multi-coloured ones that go bang. It was National Day on October 1st and as loyal subjects of the empire we are required to celebrate.

Twenty three minutes of flash, bang, wallop, and ooh what a picture.

Jolly good it was too; far better than any old colonial fireworks.

Now if only they could get the HSI to defy gravity.

Author
Hu Ziss in Hong Kong
This letter is the personal view of Mr Hu, and is not necessarily the view of Alan Steel Asset Management.