Hong Kong drops nearly 3% as Chinese stocks tumble

SINGAPORE — Chinese stocks fell on Friday as the rest of Asia-Pacific traded mixed, while Wall Street stocks rallied overnight and oil prices fell.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 2.47% to close at 21,404.88, paring some losses after plunging nearly 3% earlier. The Shanghai composite fell 1.17% to close at 3,212.24, and the Shenzhen component fell 1.89% to 12,072.73. The CSI 300 fell 1.8% to 4,174.57.

Shares of Hong Kong-listed Russian aluminum producer Rusal jumped more than 10% in early trading before reversing to fall 5.74%. The stock fell earlier this week after the company said on Monday it was assessing the impact of a ban announced Sunday by the Australian government on exports of alumina and aluminum ores to Russia.

Shares of Rusal in Moscow had jumped nearly 16% when markets resumed trading in Russia on Thursday after a month-long shutdown.

JD Logistics stock plunged nearly 14%, falling below its offer price. In a filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange in the morning, the company said it would raise 8.53 billion Hong Kong dollars ($1.09 billion) through a share sale. E-commerce giant subsidiary JD.com said the shares would be priced at HK$20.71 apiece.

The Hang Seng Technology Index fell almost 5%, with Alibaba losing 5.62%, Tencent dropping 2.62%, JD dropping 4.72% and Meituan dropping 8.16%. Delisting fears remained front and center, with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission adding Chinese social media platform Weibo to a list of Chinese stocks at risk of delisting from the United States.

Other Asia-Pacific Markets

Japanese stocks moved between positive and negative territory, but the Nikkei 225 closed 0.14% lower at 28,149.84 and the Topix closed at 1,981.47. Japan released inflation data, showing its core consumer price index hit a two-year high in March, according to Reuters.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 remained in positive territory as it edged up 0.26% to 7,406.20, with some minor gains. South Korean stocks struggled to orient themselves, trading between gains and losses. The Kospi last sat above the flatline and settled at 2,729.98.

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Among the top gainers in Asian afternoon trade were mining company MMG and Singaporean agricultural company Olam, which rose 4%. Notable losers include Nio, which fell 4.9%, and China Life Insurance, which fell 2.3%.

MSCI’s broadest Asia-Pacific non-Japan equity index traded down around 1%.

Singapore’s Straits Times Index rose 0.58% in the afternoon. Analysts at research firm Capital Economics and DBS Bank said on Friday they now expect Singapore’s central bank to tighten policy at its meeting next month after a major easing of restrictions Covid of the country on Thursday.

“Yesterday’s easing of virus restrictions in Singapore exceeded our expectations and now means that risks to our above-consensus growth forecast of 4.0% this year are on the upside,” said economist Alex Holmes. for emerging Asia within the company. “The measures are also likely to add to inflationary pressures, further increasing the chances that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will tighten policy when it meets next month.”

US stocks rallied overnight, led by chip stocks. The Dow Jones jumped 349.44 points, or 1%, to close at 34,707.94. The S&P 500 added 1.4% to 4,520.16 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.9% to 14,191.84.

Stocks have oscillated this week, alternating between rising and falling days. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq are on track to end the week higher.

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Currencies and Oil

Oil prices were in focus, having fallen almost 2% overnight after a volatile session. In Asia trading on Friday, U.S. crude fell 0.14% to $112.21 a barrel, and Brent was little changed at $118.99.

“[International Energy Agency] members are looking to reduce their use of its crude,” said ANZ Research analysts Brian Martin and Daniel Hynes. They noted that IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said the group was ready to release more oil from emergency stocks if needed.

Contributing to oil’s decline, officials from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries have also expressed unease to the EU over a proposed Russian oil ban, Reuters said citing OPEC sources.

In currencies, the U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 98.613, down from levels around 98.7 earlier.

The Japanese yen was trading at 121.67 to the dollar, weaker than before. The Australian dollar was at $0.7504 as it continued to surge from levels around $0.74 earlier in the week.

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