HONG KONG: Hong Kong's main share index surged more than 4 per cent on Wednesday afternoon (Sep 4), after local news outlets reported, citing sources, that leader Carrie Lam would withdraw a controversial extradition Bill.
The Hang Seng closed at its highest in a month at 26,523.23 points, having rallied over 4 per cent at one point, outpacing the 1.6 per cent gains in MSCI's index of Asia-Pacific shares ex-Japan and 0.9 per cent rise in Shanghai shares.
Property stocks jumped 7.4 per cent while the financial sector sub-index climbed 3.8 per cent.
Lam later confirmed that the Bill will be permanently shelved, in an announcement that was made after markets closed.
The withdrawal of the Bill, which would have allowed Hong Kong citizens to be sent to mainland China to face trial, is one of the main demands of protesters who have plunged the city into its deepest crisis in decades.
The unrest is piling pressure on Lam who told a group of business people last week that she had "very, very limited" ability to end the crisis and it had been elevated "to a national level", a reference to the leadership in Beijing.
Her comments in an audio recording of the meeting were reported by Reuters on Tuesday.
Lam also said in the recording that she would step down if she had a choice, fuelling protesters' complaints that the partial autonomy granted to Hong Kong in 1997 under a "one country, two systems" agreement is being slowly eroded by Beijing.
Beijing denies that and says it is committed to the formula.
Lam on Tuesday said she had never discussed resignation with Beijing and believed her government could solve the crisis without Beijing's help.
China denies it is meddling in Hong Kong's affairs but warned again on Tuesday that it would not sit idly by if the unrest threatened Chinese security and sovereignty.