Date: Monday, November 28, 2022
Source: Splash 24/7
The largest protests seen in China since the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 have spooked financial and commodity markets today.
Both the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock markets closed down on Monday while the prices of key commodities including oil came under pressure.
The immediate trigger for the demonstrations was a deadly fire in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, in China’s far northwest on Thursday. Ten people, including three children, died after emergency fire services could not get close enough to an apartment building engulfed in flames. Residents blamed lockdown-related measures for hampering rescue efforts.
Anti-covid protests, including calls for the removal of president Xi Jinping, have since spread to major metropolises including Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Nanjing, Wuhan and Xi’an.
“International television broadcasting angry demonstrators in China, protesting against the country’s strict zero-Covid policy, has caused further unease in financial and commodity markets, mostly in Asia but now also reverberating across the world,” a daily markets update from Oslo shipbrokers Lorentzen & Co noted this morning.
Niels Rasmussen, BIMCO’s chief shipping analyst, told Splash it was still too early to make any conclusions on how seriously the protests might effect shipping. China is, by some distance, the most important nation for shipping’s fortunes – both for imports and exports.
“Should the unrest continue, it could heap additional pressure on the country’s flagging growth rates and weigh on the country’s appetite for imported commodities,” a markets update from Shipfix suggested today.