(Corrects trading fee amount in third paragraph to HK$952 million, not HK$1.2 billion)
HONG KONG, Aug 14 (Reuters) - Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd (HKEX), the stock exchange operator in the Asian financial hub, on Wednesday reported a 3% rise in its half-yearly profit, helped by a surge in listing fee even as trading fee dropped.
HKEX posted a net profit of HK$5.21 billion ($664 million) in the first six months ended June this year, compared with a profit of HK$5.04 billion in the same period a year earlier, the company said in a statement.
The exchange’s listing fee rose 6.7% to HK$475 million as a result of higher overall number of listed companies on the bourse, but trading fee dropped 21% to HK$952 million due to weaker markets, it said.
The outlook for the exchange’s earnings in the near-term has, however, been clouded by weakness in the secondary markets as well as protests in Hong Kong, which could weigh on new listings.
Markets continued to be sensitive to uncertainties in the U.S. interest rate outlook, a potential no-deal Brexit, and “recent social unrest” in Hong Kong, HKEX Chairman Laura Cha said in the statement.
Ten weeks of increasingly violent clashes between police and pro-democracy protesters, angered by a perceived erosion of freedoms, have plunged Hong Kong into its worst crisis since it reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997. ($1 = 7.8445 Hong Kong dollars) (Reporting by Sumeet Chatterjee, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)