Hong Kong stocks have experienced a significant drop as foreign investors remain cautious due to concerns over the yuan's potential depreciation and the continuing issues in the property market. The Hang Seng Index closed at 17,930.55, marking a 1.4% decline and hitting a three-week low. Meanwhile, the Tech Index dropped by 2.2%, while the Shanghai Composite Index managed to gain 0.3%.
Several major tech giants, including Alibaba Group, JD.com, Meituan, and Tencent, saw declines in their stock prices. Alibaba Group's shares weakened by 2.4%, reaching HK$84.20, JD.com dropped 2.9% to HK$121, Meituan slipped by 1.9% to HK$122, and Tencent declined by 1.6% to HK$312.20.
The property sector in Hong Kong faced its share of challenges as well, with developers such as Sun Hung Kai Properties, New World Development, and Henderson Land experiencing almost a 2% decline. This drop was attributed to concerns that property prices might weaken as seven banks in the city prepare to raise mortgage rates. HSBC also lost 0.2%, trading at HK$60.75, and Bank of China (HK) slipped by 0.4% to HK$2.72.
The Hang Seng Index has faced a decline of about 2% in the current month, with investors expressing dissatisfaction with the slow pace of economic revitalization efforts by Beijing. Foreign funds have been selling Chinese stocks, resulting in a total outflow of $15 billion over the past six weeks, according to Goldman Sachs. Additionally, foreign-exchange outflows from China reached $42 billion in August, the highest level since 2016.
The yuan has also been weakening, trading at 7.2958 per US dollar in recent offshore trading, nearing a 16-year low in the onshore market. Some Wall Street banks, including Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, anticipate that China will implement further interest rate cuts to boost the economy, while the Federal Reserve's actions remain uncertain.
According to Tim Waterer, Chief Market Analyst at KCM Trade, the People's Bank of China should do more to stimulate the consumer sector and stabilize the property market. Concerns persist that Beijing's stimulus efforts may not be sufficient to reignite growth, as noted by research firm Alpine Macro.
China's property market woes continue to impact market sentiment. China Evergrande Group, laden with debt, faced a significant drop of up to 25%, with police detaining some staff at its wealth management unit after the company failed to pay on certain investment products. The shares of Evergrande fell by 1.6% to HK$0.61 at the close of trading.
In addition to Evergrande, Country Garden Holdings also slipped by 1.9% to HK$1.04. The company, once China's largest home builder, has sought to delay local bond maturities due to upcoming offshore debt payments. Its state-linked peer, Sino-Ocean, froze all offshore debt payments last week in an effort to restructure its finances.
Across other major Asian markets, there were also declines. South Korea's Kospi lost 1%, and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped by 0.7%. Japanese markets remained closed due to a holiday.
These market movements reflect the ongoing challenges and uncertainties in the Asian financial landscape, influenced by a combination of factors, including currency fluctuations, property market instability, and global economic conditions.
By fLEXI tEAM