By Navya Mittal and Echha Jain
(Reuters) – National Australia Bank (NAB) said on Thursday it would shut its Hong Kong branch, as offices in Singapore, Tokyo and Shanghai were its preferred customer outreach hubs in Asia.
The move is likely to impact about 50 roles in the Hong Kong, however, the lender said in a statement that its “too early” to confirm the impact of the branch closing.
“The decision probably reflects that foreign businesses are not finding operating conditions in Hong Kong as conducive as they once were,” said Tim Waterer, chief market analyst at KCM Trade.
Shares jumped 0.8% to trade at A$29.22 as at 0322 GMT, after touching a two-week high of A$29.240 earlier in the session.
NAB’s move follows peer Westpac, which ceased its operations in the region in June.
“Companies will often follow the path of least resistance when it comes to operating conditions ‘on the ground’ in oversees jurisdictions,” said Waterer, adding that right now that path could be shifting in favour of places such as Singapore.
The office shutdown comes after Finance Sector Union said earlier this month that the bank was planning to cut 222 back-office jobs.
NAB anticipates the wind down in operations to take about 18 months.
(Reporting by Navya Mittal in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Rashmi Aich)