SHANGHAI — China stocks slumped on Tuesday as the country grappled with surging COVID-19 cases, while investors took no comfort from the central bank’s decision to stand pat on key lending rates.
** The blue-chip CSI 300 Index was down 1.2% by the end of the morning session, and the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.6%.
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** Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped 1.4%, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index declined 2%.
** Cities across China scrambled to build hospital beds and fever screening clinics on Tuesday as the United States said Beijing’s surprise decision to let the virus run free was a concern for the world.
** “A reopening from COVID control will finally push the economy to largely recover, but it still has an adverse impact on the economy in the short term,” said Central China Securities analysts in a note.
** “The period might last two to three months, so the market will face near-term social and economic pressure.”
** Shares in consumer staples lost 2.5%, while tourism-related firms retreated 1.3%. Both indexes jumped in previous sessions on reopening bets.
** China kept benchmark lending interest rates unchanged for the fourth consecutive month on Tuesday, matching the forecasts of most market watchers who nevertheless expect further monetary easing to prop up a slowing economy.
** Chinese property developers Agile Group and CIFI Holdings slumped 16.7% and 15%, respectively, after they planed to raise money via share placement to repay existing debt.
** China’s CSI 300 Real Estate Index lost 2.1%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Mainland Properties Index plunged 5.2%.
** Tech giants listed in Hong Kong lost 2.6%. The index lost more than 8% from a recent peak seen on Dec. 9 as investors locked in profit. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)