Asian stocks advance but China’s Covid gloom continues

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Major Asian markets gained hard-earned ground on Monday, but the mood remained volatile on trading floors, with China’s ongoing battle against Covid casting a long shadow over the region.

Blue-chip stocks in Tokyo rose on the back of Wall Street’s rebound in the previous session, but investors are nervous and watching developments in China closely. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng also took the lead.

Mainland China stocks, however, ended up falling after data showed the country’s economic activity cooled sharply in April due to its Covid lockdowns, with investors looking beyond Plan to reopen Shanghai in June and a drop in the mortgage rate for first-time buyers.

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It comes as data shows new bank lending in China hit its lowest level in nearly four-and-a-half years in April as the pandemic rocked the economy and weakened demand for credit.

April retail sales in China fell 11.1% on the year, nearly double the fall forecast, as numerous partial Covid shutdowns were imposed in dozens of cities. Industrial production fell 2.9% as analysts expected a slight increase.

Shanghai has laid out plans for the return of more normal life from June 1 and for the end of a painful Covid lockdown that lasted more than six weeks.

To support the real estate sector, the central bank lowered by 20 basis points the lower limit of interest rates on mortgages for first-time buyers, based on the Loan Prime Rates.

China’s blue chip CSI300 index fell 0.8% to 3,956.54, while the Shanghai Composite index fell 0.34% to 3,073.75. The Shenzhen Composite Index on China’s second largest stock exchange fell 0.28%, or 5.44 points, to 1,926.01.

In Tokyo, the benchmark Nikkei 225 firmed 0.45%, or 119.40 points, to 26,547.05, but the broader Topix index edged down 0.05%, or 0.94 points, to 1,863.26. the Hang Seng Index gained 0.26%, or 51.44 points, to 19,950.21.

Indian stocks rose with Mumbai’s Nifty 50 index up 0.60%, or 94.30 points, to 15,876.45.

MSCI Flat Global Equity Index

European stock indices opened lower on Monday after oil prices tumbled and riskier currencies took a hit in Asian sessions as weak economic data from China highlighted fears of a slowdown in the economy. the growth.

Investors fear that inflation driving up interest rates will hurt the global economy. These fears saw global stocks hit their lowest point in 18 months last week.

The MSCI World Stock Index, which tracks stocks in 50 countries, was flat on the day but still holding above last week’s lows.

The dollar index, which hit a 20-year high of 105.01 last week, fell less than 0.1% on the day to 104.47. Riskier currencies such as the Australian dollar and British pound fell.

Oil prices fell as investors took advantage of a rally in the previous session.

Bitcoin was trading at around $29,532. Last week it plunged to $25,401.05 – its lowest since December 2020. Already hit by declining risk appetite, cryptocurrencies sold off last week when a popular stablecoin, TerraUSD, collapsed and lost its dollar peg.

Key figures

Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index > UP 0.2% to 19,940.28
Shanghai – Composite > DOWN 0.3% to 3,073.75 (close)
London – FTSE 100 > DOWN 0.4% to 7,389.93
Tokyo – Nikkei 225 > UP 0.5% to 26,547.05 (closing)
West Texas Intermediate > DOWN 0.6% to $109.78 a barrel
North Sea Brent > DOWN 1.0% to $110.46 a barrel
New York – Dow Jones > UP 1.5% to 32,196.66 (close Friday)

  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara

Read more:

Property sales in China fell 46% in April, the most since 2006

China retail sales implode as shutdowns hit April production

Sean O’Meara

Sean O’Meara is an editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for over 30 years, working for local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. Passionate about football, cricket and rugby, he is particularly interested in the financing of sport.

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