Hong Kong and China stocks followed most Asian markets lower on Friday morning as growing concerns about policy tightening by the world’s central bank weighed on global bourses. Worries that China’s economic growth could slow in the second half has also curbed risk appetite. The Hang Seng, the Hong Kong benchmark that ranked among the best-performing major indexes in the first half, dropped 0.4 percent, to 25,373.80 points by the lunch break, extending its weekly decline to 1.5 percent. The Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 0.6 percent, to 10,281.13.
Yang Hai, an analyst at Kaiyuan Securities said tightening by the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank “would have a negative impact on liquidity situations in Hong Kong.” However, he expects the impact on the China market would be limited. The market’s upward momentum also appears to be losing steam, amid signs that the pace of Chinese money inflows – a major source of strength – is slowing.
Net inflows from the mainland via “Connect” schemes slumped by more than half in June, while monthly selling of Hong Kong stocks through the cross-border links rose to a record this year, according to the China Securities Journal, showing Chinese investors are increasingly cautious. Risk apatite appears waning on the mainland as well.
China’s blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.5 percent, to 3,642.39 points on Friday morning, on track to post a weekly decline of 0.7 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.2 percent, to 3,205.25 points. The mood has generally been cautious ahead of a raft of Chinese data in coming weeks, which is expected to show steady growth, but government measures to rein in the housing market and debt risks are likely to drag on activity over the next few quarters.
“Slower credit growth and higher funding costs due to supervisory tightening are expected to have an effect on fixed-asset investment and activities later in the year,” economists at UBS said in a research note. Most sectors fell in Hong Kong and China on Friday.
Hong Kong-listed IT shares fell sharply after the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 1 percent overnight, and as bellwether Tencent Holdings weakened 0.7 percent. Bucking the trend, Hong Kong shares in COSCO Shipping Holdings, the world’s fourth-largest container shipping line, surged to a 23-month high on robust profit forecast.