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Latest news updates: HSBC faces struggle to attract bids from Big Four auditors


Asia-Pacific stocks set to fall in early trading

Asian stocks looked set to fall on Monday, with futures in Hong Kong and Japan down and Australian equities dropping in early trading.

The S&P/ASX 200 fell as much as 0.8 per cent after markets opened, while Topix futures in Japan were down 0.6 per cent. Futures in Hong Kong were also down.

On Friday, US government bonds advanced while stocks fell as fresh coronavirus curbs in Europe and hawkish comments from US policymakers prompted investors to shift to safe-haven assets.

The broad-based S&P 500 equity index closed the day down 0.1 per cent after fluctuating between minor losses and gains, as a rise in technology stocks was tempered by falls for financial services groups and US energy companies. Despite the loss, the index ended the week 0.3 per cent higher.

The Nasdaq Composite index, which is stacked with tech and healthcare companies, ended the day up 0.4 per cent, marking its second consecutive record close.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, meanwhile, fell 0.04 percentage points to 1.55 per cent as the benchmark debt security rose in price.

Chile’s economic model faces a test as voters head to the polls

Chileans will cast their ballots on Sunday in the first general election since mass anti-government demonstrations two years ago, with voters leaning towards extremes as they reject the political establishment.

The elections, which will probably go to a run-off in December, are seen as a referendum on the Chilean economic model that has delivered some of the best growth in Latin America in recent decades but failed to share the benefits widely among the population.

“Those who are poor, die poor. The riches of our country are badly distributed,” said Carolina Cavieres, a 35-year old mother of two who was casting her vote in La Pintana, a working class suburb to the south of Santiago.

Outside the polling station, 50-year old José Peredo, who moved to La Pintana in 1983 when it was still countryside, said Chileans were disillusioned because “[the elite] want all the cake for themselves . . . they promised us equality if we became a democracy, and see what we have.” He gestured towards the lines of cramped social housing that overlooked a congested highway.

Read more about Chile’s election.

What to watch in Asia today

China policy rate decision: Policymakers are expected to keep China’s benchmark interest rate steady as they seek to limit risk in the real estate sector.

Economic data: Thailand’s third-quarter employment data and household debt figures are set to be published, as are Hong Kong’s monthly consumer price index and Taiwan’s revised third quarter gross domestic product.

Markets: Asian stocks looked set to fall on Monday with futures in Hong Kong and Japan down and Australian equities dropping in early trading. US stocks fell on Friday as fresh coronavirus curbs in Europe and hawkish comments from US policymakers prompted investors to shift to safe-haven assets.

HSBC faces struggle to attract bids from Big Four auditors

HSBC bosses fear they will struggle to convince some of the UK’s largest accounting firms to bid for the bank’s $94m-a-year audit after initial outreach to contenders suggested a number of Big Four firms were reluctant to take on the role.

The UK’s largest lender is preparing to tender next year for the audit of its accounts from 2025, people with knowledge of the matter told the Financial Times.

HSBC has been audited since 2015 by PwC, which is eligible to bid for another 10 years in the role.

But the bank is already expecting difficulty in attracting pitches from the other Big Four accountants — Deloitte, EY and KPMG — because some candidates have expressed concerns over possible conflicts with lucrative consulting projects and the scale of resources needed to audit it, people familiar with the matter said.

The number of jurisdictions in which HSBC operated, the resources and technology required, and the risk involved were all issues in attracting auditors to bid, one of the people said.

Read more about HSBC’s audit.



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