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Asian Markets Rise; Cathay CEO Resigns Amid Hong Kong Protest Controversy

Investing.com - Asian markets rose in morning trade on Monday. Shares of Hong Kong-listed Cathay Pacific fell as the company’s CEO resigned amid controversy surrounding the Hong Kong protest.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 1.8% by 10:35 PM ET (02:35 GMT). In a blog post published on Sunday, Financial Secretary Paul Chan said the city should brace itself for an “economic typhoon” caused by the ongoing political unrest and Sino-U.S. trade war.

Cathay Pacific (HK:0293) fell about 1.5% following the announcement that the company’s CEO Rubert Hogg resigned. Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Paul Loo also stepped down alongside the CEO.

“These have been challenging weeks for the airline and it is right that Paul and I take responsibility as leaders of the company,” Hogg said in a company statement on Friday.

Augustus Tang, a long-time lieutenant with Swire Group, will replace Hogg as Cathay’s CEO. Swire is Cathay’s biggest investor.

The airline has been reportedly targeted by Beijing for failing to rein in staff taking part in the protests that began in early June, even after the airline fired four staff for their involvement in protest-related actions.

“Cathay Pacific’s latest gesture was viewed by many as too little to restore its scarred reputation and the loss of customers,” China’s state-owned media Global Times said after Hogg’s departure.

China’s Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Component rose 1.4% and 1.5% respectively. On Saturday, the People’s Bank of China said it will improve the mechanism used to establish the loan prime rate so it could “use market-based reform methods to help lower real lending rates.”

Tech giant Huawei is back in focus as U.S. President Donald Trump said he does not want to do business with the company “at all because it is a national security threat.”

The Wall Street Journal and Reuters previously reported that the U.S. was preparing to extend a licence that would allow Huawei to buy parts from U.S. companies for 90 days. The current agreement will end today.

“We’ll see what happens. I’m making a decision tomorrow,” Trump said.

Meanwhile, Japan’s Nikkei 225 traded 0.8% higher. The country’s exports fell 1.6% in July from a year earlier, Ministry of Finance data showed on Monday.

South Korea’s KOSPI gained 0.7%.

Down under, Australia’s ASX 200 climbed 0.8%.

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