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Asian Markets Fall; Hang Seng Index Slumps Amid Citywide Strike

Investing.com - Asian markets fell in morning trade on Monday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slumped amid a citywide strike that saw protesters blocked roads and cross-harbour tunnels, and also disrupted public transportation services to force the government to give in to demands.

The Hang Seng Index was down 3.1% by 11:01 PM ET (03:01 GMT). Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's chief executive, held a press conference on Monday morning with eight other top officials and said the recent protests has put the city in a "very dangerous situation." Lam refused to step down, insisting that high level officials including herself "have the responsibility to stand fast to our positions."

The press conference came after a weekend of intense stand-offs between the police forces and protesters in multiple districts in the city, which resulted in tear gases being fired and arrests.

In an interview with the South China Morning Post, a 20-year old unnamed university student said Lam "is like a recorder repeating condemnations."

“She condemns the damage of inanimate things and doesn’t care about the use of excessive police force on people. She has not responded to even one of the five demands,” he said.

The "five demands" include a complete withdrawal of the highly controversial extradition bill, an inquiry into police actions over the handling of demonstrations, and the release of all arrested protestors which Lam said is "unreasonable" because they have clearly broken the law.

“Every time she speaks she makes me and my friends even more furious," the student said.

Tension in the city began to rise in early June when an estimated one million of citizens marched on the streets of the city against the now-abandoned extradition law.

Hong Kong’s July whole economy purchasing managers’ index plunged to 43.8 in July from 47.9 the previous month, the lowest reading since March 2009, as output and new orders both fell, according to IHS Markit.

China's Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component were down 0.7% and 0.1% respectively. Citing people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that U.S. President Donald Trump has overruled his advisor teams when he ordered to slap more tariffs on Chinese goods last week.

Japan's Nikkei 225 was down 2.7%. South Korea's KOSPI slumped 2.4%.

Down under, Australia's ASX 200 lost 1.4%.

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