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Chinese stocks jump on vow at top meeting to stabilise economy, markets

reuters.com · 04/29/2022 05:01
Chinese stocks jump on vow at top meeting to stabilise economy, markets

Updates with Hong Kong closing levels

- Hong Kong stocks jumped the most in six weeks, and Chinese shares rose on Friday after authorities vowed at a top-level meeting to step up policy support to stabilise the economy and financial markets hit by domestic COVID-19 outbreaks and rising geopolitical risks.

Tech giants trading in Hong Kong .HSTECH led gains with a 10% jump, amid hopes that Beijing will stop its sweeping regulatory clampdown on the embattled sector.

The blue-chip CSI300 Index .CSI300 rose 2.4%, to 4,016.24, while the Shanghai Composite Index .SSEC gained 2.4% to 3,047.06 points.

Still, the CSI300 Index and Shanghai Composite Index have lost 4.9% and 6.3% for April, respectively, as China's worst COVID-19 outbreak since Wuhan in 2020 and its zero-COVID policy clouded growth prospects.

Investor sentiment was further dampened by authorities' reluctance to roll out more stimulus in April.

China's yuan CNY=CFXS also rebounded on Friday, recovering intraday losses as market sentiment improved after the meeting, with the onshore yuan bouncing from a 1-1/2-year low of 6.6520 per dollar to finish domestic trading at 6.5866 per dollar, up 389 pips or 0.6% from the previous late night close of 6.6255.

China will strive to keep economic growth within a reasonable range, achieve social and economic targets for 2022 and preserve the stable operations of capital markets, state media said, citing a meeting of the Politburo, a top decision-making body of the ruling Communist Party. nL2N2WR07P

The meeting, chaired by President Xi Jinping, also said China would roll out measures to support healthy development of the platform economy and property market.

"The market reacted positively in line with the policy direction, but we do not expect the rise to be sustainable," said Dan Wang, chief economist at Hang Seng Bank China.

"The Politburo meeting did not propose any new measures that were not previously announced," Wang said. "Policies outlined suggest that the government and the state sector will play a decisive role in the economy, leaving the market and private sector little room to manoeuvre."

The Politburo maintained its stance on the zero-COVID policy to control coronavirus outbreaks while minimizing the impact on the economy, state media said.

"Authorities are balancing the impossible tasks of maintaining dynamic zero policy and stabilising growth. What stands out is further relaxation of housing policy and stimulating consumption," Hang Seng's Wang said.

The strict anti-virus policy, which analysts say should be adjusted to help revive economic growth, has placed residents in the financial and commercial hub of Shanghai under a prolonged one-month lockdown, disrupted supply chains and disturbed economic activities across the world's second largest economy.

China's capital Beijing closed more businesses and residential compounds on Friday, and the national daily COVID-19 caseload rebounded after five consecutive days of decline, with mainland China reporting 15,688 new cases for Thursday, up from 11,367 a day earlier. nL3N2WR0GJ nB9N2WD045

Sentiment got a further lift from China's stock clearing agency announcing it would halve stock transfer fees from Friday to reduce investors' trading costs and reinvigorate markets, sending shares of brokers .CSI399975 up 4.7%. nL2N2WR01K

Information technology .CSIINT and non-ferrous metal .CSI000811 stocks rose 5% each, while media firms .CSI399971 jumped 7.2% and automobiles .CSI931008 ended up 6%.

The Hang Seng index .HSI rose 4.0% to 21,089.39, while the China Enterprises Index .HSCE gained 5.5% to 7,298.69 points.

Internet giants Alibaba Group BABA and Meituan MPNGY surged more than 15% each, while Tencent Holdings TCEHY added roughly 11%.

Apart from the Politburo's pledge to support internet platforms, sources told Reuters China and U.S. regulators were discussing operational details of an audit deal that Beijing hopes to sign this year, and a preliminary framework for audit supervision cooperation has been formed. nB9N2T001J

Meanwhile, South China Morning Post reported China is scheduled to have a symposium with the country's big tech firms after the Labour Day holiday, raising hopes the worst for the country's tech sector might have passed. nL3N2WR1F3



(Reporting by Jason Xue, Winni Zhou and Andrew Galbraith
Editing by Mark Potter)

((Jason.Xue@thomsonreuters.com))