Hong Kong stocks climb as China moves to stem yuan weakness, pledges support for economy while HSBC slips

·3-min read

Technology stocks helped lift the market in Hong Kong from a six-week low as China took steps to prevent the yuan from weakening and ease concerns about capital outflows. Losses in HSBC and other lenders limited gains.

The Hang Seng Index rose 0.3 per cent to 19,934.71 at the close, halting an almost 8 per cent slump over the past five trading days. The Tech Index gained 2.9 per cent, recouping all of Monday’s slump as JD.com, Meituan and Alibaba Group surged by at least 3 per cent.

The Shanghai Composite Index dropped 1.4 per cent, reversing an earlier 0.9 per cent advance, adding to the biggest sell-off in two years on Monday. The Shenzhen Component Index sank 1.7 per cent.

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China’s central bank will cut the reserve requirement ratio on foreign-currency deposits from May 15. The estimated US$7 billion liquidity infusion from the move could ease the depreciation pressure, Goldman Sachs said, after the yuan slid past the 6.56 level this week. The currency strengthened 0.2 per cent to 6.5462.

Separately, the People’s Bank of China said recent gyrations in the financial markets were driven by expectations and sentiment, not fundamentals. It will ramp up prudent monetary policies to support industries and companies battered by the pandemic, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

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JD.com surged 5.7 per cent to HK$212.20 and Meituan added 4.8 per cent to HK$145.30. Alibaba Group rallied 3.7 per cent to HK$84.90 while Tencent Holdings rose 2.6 per cent to HK$335.80. WH Group added 2 per cent to HK$5.47 before its quarterly earnings report.

Stocks in Hong Kong and mainland China sold off on Monday after infection cases flared up in Beijing, stoking fear about a lockdown and further economic damage from its zero-Covid policy. Beijing has ordered more districts to undergo testing.

Still, the rally almost fizzled out as lenders fell with HSBC sliding 4.2 per cent to HK$49.50. Europe’s biggest bank by assets said its first-quarter profit fell 28 per cent as it faced challenges from a wave of coronavirus cases in its biggest market in Hong Kong while the war in Ukraine sapped confidence. China Merchants Bank slumped 4.3 per cent to HK$44.70.

China shifted its focus on Covid-19 outbreak in Beijing as cases rose to a record. A government report on Tuesday showed new infections in Shanghai over the past 24 hours fell 12.7 per cent to 16,980 and those with symptoms dropped by about a third to 1,661 while fatalities stood at 52.

Traders are also looking to a quarterly meeting of China’s Politburo later this week for more signs of policy support to overturn bearish sentiment on the economy, after the IMF and private economists trimmed their growth forecasts and investors dumped onshore stocks.

Hunan Airbluer Environmental Protection Technology jumped 53 per cent to 28.05 yuan on its first day of trading in Shenzhen.

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