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HK postpones land tender amid extradition bill protests

Hong Kong

HONG Kong's government postponed a high-profile land auction because of street protests that have choked the city centre, a sign of how political tensions are spilling into the world's most expensive property market.

Officials on Thursday postponed the tender for a plot of residential land in Kowloon district estimated to fetch as much as US$1.7 billion.

While the government said the reason was blocked access to government offices from protests against a controversial extradition bill, some analysts said more fundamental factors might have been at play.

Market voices on:

"It's probably because of the trade war and recent social movements, the government may be worried about the impact on the number of bidders, amount of the bids and government revenue," said Thomas Lam, an executive director at property agency Knight Frank. Anaemic bidding could have hurt broader property market sentiment, he said.

Friday's land auction for the plot on the Kai Tak site in Kowloon would have provided an early glimpse into the property market's resilience to the social unrest. BLOOMBERG