China Stocks Decline on COVID, Economic Woes

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China stocks closed down on Friday as concerns over rising COVID-19 cases and a sluggish economic recovery lingered, while real estate developers shined during the week on expectations that authorities would support the embattled sector.

Mainland China

The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.7%, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.6%.

The Hang Seng index rose 0.1%, while the China Enterprises Index gained 0.3%.

For the week, the CSI 300 index went down nearly 1%, while the Hang Seng index dropped 2%.

The tech-focused STAR market declined 3.3%, while semiconductors and new energy firms lost nearly 3% each.

Concerns about rising COVID-19 cases lingered. Mainland China reported 2,804 new cases for Thursday, down slightly from over 3,000 daily cases from previous two days.

Real estate developers jumped 2.8% while energy companies added 2.3%.

China is widely expected to lower its benchmark lending rates on Monday, a Reuters survey showed, with a vast majority of participants predicting a deeper cut to the mortgage reference to lift the ailing property sector and the overall economy.

The five-year tenor, where all 30 participants expected a cut, influences the pricing of home mortgages.

Property developers soared 6.5% for the week, amid stimulus expectations as sources told Reuters that China will guarantee new onshore bond issues by a few select private developers.

China has issued its first national drought alert of the year, as local governments race to maintain power and find fresh water to irrigate crops ahead of the autumn harvest.

Analysts said investors would keep an eye on whether the shortage in power supply impacts enterprises’ operations and short-term economic development.

China’s cyberspace watchdog wants to build an “affectionate” relationship between internet enterprises and the government, a senior official said, the latest verbal assurance to an industry still on edge after a long and bruising regulatory crackdown.

Tech giants listed in Hong Kong closed flat after the news, and were down 3.6% for the week, as an audit deal between the Chinese and U.S. regulators remained uncertain. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Mark Heinrich)

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Source: Reuters

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