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Fitch downgrades HK rating following months of protests

International rating agency Fitch Ratings on Friday downgraded Hong Kong’s credit rating after three months of anti-government protests, which caused conflict and violence in the city, while Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam disagreed and said the clashes did not erode the rule of law in the city.

The rating agency said it downgraded Hong Kong's long-term foreign-currency issuer default rating to 'AA' from 'AA+', with a negative outlook. Persistent conflict and violence were testing the perimeters and pliability of the city’s "one country, two systems" framework, Fitch said in a statement.

The rating agency expects the political framework remains intact, but a degree of public discontent is likely to persist in spite of concessions to some protestor demands. The potential for renewed eruption of social unrest could further tarnish the city's political stability and business environment, Fitch added.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam disagreed with the credit downgrade and said the conflicts did not erode Hong Kong’s rule of law and its “one country, two systems" framework.

Hong Kong government on Tuesday officially withdrew a proposed bill, which would have allowed the extradition of criminals to China. But it rejected other demands by protestors, including dropping charges against arrested protestors and setting up an independent inquiry into the political crisis.

“If the government answered to these demands, the international community would negatively view the rule of law,” Mrs. Lam said on Friday during a trip to Guangxi.

Reporting by Felix Tam
Photo from Carrie Lam official Facebook

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