hong kong democracy protests

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority has said that 44 branches, offices or ATMs from 23 different banks have been temporarily shut down as pro-democracy protests continue to engulf the city's financial district.

The "Occupy Central" protestors are demanding that the Chinese government tear up its plans for political reform, which they claim are undemocratic. Beijing has decided that election candidates will be nominated by a committee of 1,200 people, whereas the protestors are demanding universal suffrage for 2017's vote for a new city chief executive.

The monetary authority, which is Hong Kong's de facto central bank, said that the interbank market functioned normally on Monday, with Hibor and CNH Hibor remaining steady.

The Hang Seng Index is trading down 2.20% at 23,158 as at 7:37 am GMT. Meanwhile, the Shanghai composite index is unaffected by the protests, edging up 0.17% to 2,351.68.

It's thought that Hong Kong's financial, tourism and retail sectors are set to suffer on the back of the protests. Hundreds of people have gathered in some of the semi-autonomous region's main shopping districts, including Causeway Bay, while several banks have already said they will be suspending their Hong Kong operations.

"As the protests break out during the week of China's Golden Week and now spread to shopping areas frequently visited by tourists, Hong Kong's retail sales will suffer if the protest continues to drag on," said Louis Lam, economist at ANZ Bank.

Meanwhile, the incumbent chief executive Leung Chun-ying, has quashed rumours that there will be a deployment of Chinese troops, saying: "I hope the public will keep calm. Don't be misled by the rumours. Police will strive to maintain social order, including ensuring smooth traffic and ensuring the public safety. When they carry out their duties, they will use their maximum discretion."

Schools and public transport have also been shut down or suspended, after protests turned violent over the weekend.

About 200 policemen were deployed to attempt to dispel thousands of protestors who had brought loudspeakers and audio equipment into the campaign area in an effort to rally efforts.

In a statement, the Occupy Central movement said: "We demand [Hong Kong chief executive] CY Leung deliver a new report on political reform to the central government, which must adequately reflect the demands of Hong Kong people for democracy. If CY Leung does not respond, we will escalate our actions."