Asian stocks slide on China jitters, U.S. CPI offers little cheer

  • Stock Market News
Asian stocks slide on China jitters, U.S. CPI offers little cheer
Credit: © Reuters. -- Most Asian stocks sank on Friday, with Chinese shares leading losses on persistent concerns over the property market,  while data showing a rise in U.S. inflation did little to improve sentiment. 

A volatile overnight session on Wall Street also provided weak cues to regional markets, after data showed that U.S. consumer price index inflation grew as expected in July from the prior month. While the reading pushed up bets that the Federal Reserve will keep rates unchanged in September, it still pointed to rates remaining higher for longer.

Fears of slowing growth in China continued to chip away at regional sentiment, following a string of weak economic readings from the country this week. Concerns over a property market meltdown also saw a resurgence this week amid reports that the country’s biggest developers were struggling to meet their debt obligations.

Chinese markets slide amid economic gloom, property market jitters 

China’s Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 and Shanghai Composite indexes slid 1.7% and 1.4%, respectively, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index shed 0.8%. 

The three indexes were set to lose between 2% and 3% this week, as dismal trade and inflation data for July pointed to continued economic weakness in the country.

Heavyweight property stocks were hit with a fresh wave of selling on Friday after Country Garden Holdings (HK: 2007 ), one of the biggest real estate firms in the country, warned of a massive loss for the first half of 2023, due to a persistent downturn in the sector.

The warning came after the company said it missed two dollar bond payments, while media reports also suggested that the firm was seeking debt restructuring amid a worsening outlook.

Country Garden’s Hong Kong shares slumped nearly 12%, while peers China Hongqiao Group Ltd (HK: 1378 ) and Longfor Properties Co Ltd (HK: 0960 ) sank between 4% and 5%. 

Losses in property stocks largely offset optimism over stronger-than-expected results from Alibaba Group Holdings (NYSE: BABA ), which indicated that consumer spending remained resilient. Alibaba's (HK: 9988 ) Hong Kong shares rose 1.7%. 

Sentiment towards China was also hit by the White House imposing new curbs on tech investment in the country, which pushed up concerns over a resurgence in trade tensions between the world’s largest economies.

Concerns over China soured sentiment towards broader Asian markets. South Korea’s KOSPI was flat, while the Taiwan Weighted index added 0.2%. 

Australia’s ASX 200 fell 0.2% after Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe warned that interest rates could still rise further. 

Futures for India’s Nifty 50 index pointed to a soft open, after an unexpected increase in reserve requirements spurred losses in bank stocks on Thursday. 

Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.


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