Chinese stocks have hit multi-year lows in New York and Hong Kong amid growing concerns about China’s rising Covid cases and economic outlook.
The plunge comes at a time when members of China’s ruling Communist Party are meeting for the 20th Party Congress, a major leadership reshuffle that sets the tone for policy for the coming years.
In Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng (HSI) Index tumbled as much as 3% in Thursday’s morning trade. By early afternoon, it pared losses to 1.1%, on track to hit its lowest close since October 2011, according to Refinitiv.
The fall comes just a day after the city’s leader, Chief Executive John Lee, promised to invest billions of dollars to bring global talent and businesses back to Hong Kong.
The index was mainly dragged down by Chinese technology companies. Alibaba (BABA)’s Hong Kong-listed shares fell nearly 3%. Tencent (TCEHY) also lost 2.9%. Baidu (BIDU) sank more than 7%.
The heavy decline followed a sharp sell-off in Chinese stocks listed on Wall Street overnight.
The Nasdaq Golden Dragon China Index slid 7.1% on Wednesday to close at its lowest level since July 2013. JD.com (JD) lost 7.7%. Alibaba’s New York-traded stock dropped 6.6%.
US stocks closed lower on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.3%. The S&P 500 was down 0.6%, and the Nasdaq slid 0.9%.
Other Asian markets also fell on Thursday.
Japan’s nikkei 22 (N225)5 dropped 0.9%, while the Japanese yen hit a fresh 32-year low against the dollar.
South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.8%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 1.1%. But China’s Shanghai Composite Index reversed earlier losses and edged up 0.3%.
Analysts are concerned about China’s growth outlook after Xi Jinping’s opening speech at the 20th party congress.
The Chinese leader offered no signs of moving away from the country’s rigid zero-Covid policy or its tight regulatory stance on various businesses, both of which have hampered growth in the world’s second-largest economy.
Xi is expected to secure an unprecedented third term in power at the week-long congress.
“China’s National Party Congress failed to drive a positive catalyst,” said Yeap Jun Rong, a market strategist for IG Group, on Thursday. He added that investors are also concerned that rising Covid cases in Beijing may lead to “aggressive restriction measures.”
China’s capital detected 41 Covid cases on Tuesday, the most in four months, according to the city’s health commission.
The country delayed the released of its third-quarter GDP data on Tuesday, which has stoked further worries.
“China’s decision to delay the release of key economic readings could suggest the data is so ugly that they don’t want it released during the party’s congress,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst for the Americas at Oanda, in a research note on Wednesday.