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Most Asian markets drop, Hong Kong weighed down by China's credit tightening

Most Asian markets drop, Hong Kong weighed down by China's credit tightening

Most Asian markets fell Monday, with Hong Kong weighed down by worries that China may step up efforts to cool its booming economy after announcing new credit tightening measures.
Chinese markets, however, hit record highs, as strong corporate earnings overcame the impact of the latest reserve requirement ratio hike.
Tokyo's stock market was closed for a national holiday.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index fell 207.52 points to 20,318.98. Investors sold stocks after China's central bank said Sunday it will raise banks' reserve requirement ratio by another 0.5 percentage point to 11 percent for most commercial banks.
The move, which comes after stronger-than-expected first-quarter economic growth, is the seventh increase within a year.
Investors worry that Beijing could roll out more measures, including interest rate hikes, in the coming weeks to contain rising inflationary pressures and slow growth from the first quarter's blistering pace.
Most blue chips fell. China Mobile declined 1 percent. Rival China Unicom dropped 1.9 percent while China Netcom plunged 2.6 percent.
Major Chinese banks also slipped on worries that the reserve ratio hike may slow lending growth, traders said.
ICBC fell 1.2 percent while China Construction Bank dropped 1.2 percent.
In the mainland, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index ended up 2.2 percent at 3,841.27, its highest-ever close. The Shenzhen Composite Index rose 1.6 percent to 1,064.77, also a record close.
"Sentiment is stable, as the latest reserve requirement ratio reduces the possibility of a near-term interest rate hike," said Tao Zhifeng, an analyst at CSC International Holdings.
Banks ended lower, however, with Shanghai Pudong Development Bank down 2.2 percent and Hua Xia Bank down 1.0 percent. Citic Bank slid 9.1 percent.
Companies that reported strong first-quarter earnings ended higher Monday. Anhui Conch Cement gained 2.9 percent after saying its first-quarter net profit rose 36 percent from the same period last year on an increase in capacity and stable sales growth.
Many regional markets will be closed Tuesday for Labor Day.
In currency dealings, the yuan rose sharply against the U.S. dollar late Monday afternoon, mainly because the local foreign currency market will be closed for a week, delaying settlement by seven days, traders said.
Elsewhere:
BANGKOK: Thai shares inched up 0.6 percent to 699.16 points in mild trading on buying in energy and petrochemical blue chips.
JAKARTA: Indonesia shares lost 1 percent, consistent with other weak Asian markets. Traders said a planned demonstration in the Indonesian capital Tuesday for Labor Day also weighed on sentiment.
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia shares slipped 2.52 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,322.25.
MANILA: Philippine shares dropped Monday, led by property and banking stocks, on expectation of rising interest rates. The benchmark 30-company Philippine Stock Exchange Index shed 47.65 points, or 1.4 percent, to 3,270.73, extending Friday's 1 percent fall.
MUMBAI: Indian shares ended mixed with sharp losses in ICICI Bank and Hindustan Lever after their January-March quarterly earnings, while a better-than-expected fourth-quarter performance lifted Reliance Communications. The Bombay Stock Exchange's 30-stock Sensitive Index, or Sensex, dipped 36.21 points, or 0.3 percent, to 13,872.37.
SEOUL: South Korean shares fell marginally on losses in banks and SK Networks. The Korea Composite Stock Price Index fell 0.28 point, marginal in percentage terms, to 1,542.24.
SINGAPORE: Singapore shares declined on profit-taking ahead of a public holiday and on negative reports about China's stock markets. The STI fell 37.31 points, or 1.1 percent, to 3,361.29.
SYDNEY: Australian stocks edged up slightly with a mixed performance across sectors and a lift in oil prices offering a modest boost to energy companies. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index edged up 14.4 points to 6,166.00.
TAIPEI: Taiwan shares fell, weighed down by disappointment over the government's negative response to initiatives taken at a trade forum in China. The Weighted Price Index of the Taiwan Stock Exchange dropped 74.00 points, or 0.9 percent, to 7,875.42 in light volume.
WELLINGTON: New Zealand stocks rose in slight volume, boosted by takeover activity and strength in bellwether Telecom Corp. ahead of its third-quarter earnings results Thursday. The benchmark NZX-50 climbed 13.2 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,194.64.


Updated : 2021-05-12 20:21 GMT+08:00