Along with coal, premium Aussie lobsters are on China’s current ‘banned’ list amid rising geopolitical tensions between the two countries.

Concurrently, lobster imports into Hong Kong — which doesn’t have a lobster import ban — have sky-rocketed.

The shift in demand has raised suspicions that Hong Kong is being used as a proxy to smuggle copious amounts of the sumptuous crustaceans from Down Under onto the mainland.

But the city’s new customs chief, Louise Ho, has pledged a renewed crackdown on ‘lobster smuggling’.

“Stopping lobster smuggling is a very important part of protecting national security, so we will pursue it diligently,” Ho said.

On local markets, the ASX 200 looks on track for a subdued session to end the week after trading flat yesterday.

Catalysts are few and far between across the board, with all the major ASX sub-indexes also trading flat today.

It follows a broadly positive week for global stocks, with inflationary pressures and global shipping constraints offset by a strong run of quarterly earnings reports on Wall Street.

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for October 20 [intraday]:

Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:

Stocks highlighted in yellow made market-sensitive announcements

After failing to match the momentum of other base metals, zinc prices got on the move in October.

And among stocks with news today, Consolidated Zinc (ASX:CZL) was the clear standout after signing a deal to sell all of the zinc concentrates from its Plomosas mine in Mexico to the Industrias Penoles.

Listed on the Mexican Stock Exchange, Penoles is a major zinc refiner and the world’s largest refiner of silver. The deal covers all of 2022 with an option for an additional year.

Outside of resources, telco provider Flexiroam (ASX:FRX) was also among the leaders after announcing it had raised $1.5m through a share placement at 4c per share — a premium to its last closing price of 3.4c.

Land management company Fertoz (ASX:FTZ) jumped, after its North American subsidiary reported positive results from a drone trial to seed and fertilise just under 10ha of land.

“A number of North American mining companies reviewed the trial and are engaging in discussions with Fertoz to reclaim and reforest land to lower their carbon footprints,” the company said.

Lastly, the ASX fintech sector was well-represented on today’s winners list.

New Zealand-based BNPL company LayBuy Group (ASX:LBY) rose after investors responded positively to its latest quarterly trading update, although the stock is still well off its 2020 listing price.

Online shopping rewards platform Cashrewards (ASX:CRW) also jumped on a takeover bid, although that too marked a steep discount to the company’s listing price in December last year.

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks for October 20 [intraday]:

Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:

Stocks highlighted in yellow made market-sensitive announcements