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HK office rents may fall in 2019: Colliers

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Sharp declines in stocks this year, looming interest-rate increases and the US-China trade war have taken a toll on sentiment among many financial firms, according to a report by Colliers International.

Hong Kong

RENTS in the world's costliest office market, Hong Kong, may fall for the first time in four years as an equities rout weighs on sentiment in the financial hub.

Grade-A office rents in Central and Admiralty will decline by about 4 per cent in 2019, Colliers International Inc said in a report. That compares with an estimated gain of 9 per cent this year.

Declines in stocks this year "must" have undermined confidence at the financial firms that rent more than half of the Grade-A office space in the central business district, the property brokerage said. Looming interest-rate increases and the US-China trade war will also take a toll on sentiment, it said.

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Office occupancy costs in Central stand at US$307 per square foot, topping London's West End and Beijing's Finance Street, according to CBRE Group Inc.

"Overall confidence among financial occupiers in Hong Kong remains high," said Andrew Haskins, Asia head of research at Colliers. "While the US-China trade tension continues to be headline news, it has yet to make a tangible impact on Hong Kong's business environment." BLOOMBERG