Hong Kong stocks rose to the highest level in more than six weeks following the best gain in Chinese technology companies since October. A government report showed inflation in December was slower than expected, creating room for further policy easing.
The Hang Seng Index rose 2.8 per cent to 24,402.17 at the close of Wednesday trading, a level not seen since November 25. The Tech Index soared 5 per cent, the biggest advance in three months. China’s Shanghai Composite Index added 0.8 per cent.
Alibaba, the owner of this newspaper, climbed 5.9 per cent while its health unit gained 3.7 per cent. JD.com jumped 11 per cent while Meituan climbed 9.1 per cent and NetEase strengthened 6.8 per cent. The rally has helped recouped US$137 billion of tech value since late Thursday.
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“The valuation of tech stocks like JD.com is not demanding,” said Stanley Chan, research director at Emperor Capital. “When market sentiment stabilises, funds that are underweight on such stocks will accumulate more.”
Producer prices in China rose 10.3 per cent in December from a year earlier, compared to 12.9 per cent in November, the statistics bureau said on Wednesday. Consumer prices rose 1.5 per cent, versus 2.3 per cent in November. Both were slower than consensus among economists.
“We expect the worst for growth in this downturn to take place in spring 2022, when the pain threshold will also likely be reached,” Nomura strategists said in their outlook report this month. “We do not view inflation as a barrier to Beijing launching more supportive policy easing and stimulus measures in 2022.”
The State Council, China’s Cabinet, on Tuesday called for efforts to stabilise trade amid growing risks to economic growth. The government said earlier this week that it would boost investments in key national projects and domestic consumption.
“China’s policy cycle is that of outright easing and will be the key driver to recovery,” Morgan Stanley said in a report published on Monday. Officials have affirmed they will continue to take action to stem the economic downturn, the report said.
Elsewhere, CNOOC jumped 6.8 per cent in the stock’s biggest gain since February last year. The state-controlled oil explorer said it will pay at least 40 per cent of its earnings as dividends, according to its 2022-2024 business strategy unveiled on late Tuesday. It plans to pay a 20th anniversary special dividend on top of regular 2021 dividend.
Two firms started trading for the first time on the mainland. Circuit chip manufacturer Triductor Technology (Suzhou) soared 32 per cent, while materials producer SICC Co rose 3.3 per cent.
Major Asia-Pacific markets advanced, taking cues from rebounds in US markets. Shares in Japan rose 1.9 per cent, while Australian and South Korean equities climbed by 0.7 to 1.5 per cent.
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