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James Hyerczyk
Asian Share Markets

The major Asia Pacific share indexes finished higher on Monday as investors reacted positively to the results of Hong Kong’s district council elections. Traders were also optimistic that the U.S. and China would reach a Phase One trade deal. However, there are still worries over the timing of this deal because the U.S. stands ready to raise tariffs on December 15.

In the cash market, Japan’s Nikkei 225 settled at 23292.81, up 179.83 or +0.78%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 26993.04, up 397.96 or +1.50% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2123.50, up 21.54 or +1.02%.

China’s Shanghai Index settled at 2906.17, up 20.88 or +0.72% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6731.40, up 21.60 or +0.32.%.

Hong Kong Democrats Score Huge Landslide Victory

Hong Kong’s democrats scored a landslide majority in district council elections, which saw a record turnout after six months of anti-government protests, increasing pressure on the Chinese-ruled city’s leader on Monday to listen to calls for democracy, according to CNBC.

Sunday’s elections marked a rare weekend lull in the sometimes violent unrest, with democratic candidates securing nearly 90% of the 452 district council seats, broadcaster RTHK reported, despite a strongly resourced and mobilized pro-establishment opposition.

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‘A Democratic Tsunami’

Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing chief executive, Carrie Lam, said in a statement the government respected the results and wished “the peaceful, safe and orderly situation to continue.”

“There are various analyses and interpretations in the community in relation to the results, and quite a few are of the view that the results reflect people’s dissatisfaction with the current situation and the deep-seated problems in society,” she said.

The government would “listen to the opinions of members of the public humbly and seriously reflect,” Lam said.

“This is the power of democracy. This is a democratic Tsunami,” said Tommy Cheung, a former student protest leader who won a seat in the Yuen Long district close to China’s border.

Australia Edges Higher as Westpac Announces Response to Charges

The ASX/S&P 200 Index rose 0.32%, but shares of Westpac lost 1.33% after the embattled bank announced it response plan over the weekend after Australia’s anti money-laundering and terrorism financing regulator last week filed civil penalty orders against the firm.

Westpac said it would immediately close its international funds transfer system and bolster its financial crime monitoring efforts.

U.S.-China Update

There were no major developments over the week-end between the U.S. and China, however, Reuters reported an ambitious “phase two” trade deal between the United States and China is looking less likely as the two countries struggle to strike a preliminary “phase one” agreement, according to U.S. and Beijing officials, lawmakers and trade experts.

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