Live News Updates: Hong Kong and China Shares Drop After Beijing Releases Late Economic Data

People walk past an electronic billboard with the Hang Seng index

The Hang Seng Index fell a staggering 4.7% in morning trading, while the CSI 300 fell a staggering 1.9% © Jérôme Favre/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Shares quoted in Hong Kong and China fell sharply on Monday after the delayed release of data on the country’s gross domestic product sent markets trembling.

The Hang Seng index fell as much as 5.1 percent in morning trading, while the CSI 300 index of listed stocks in Shanghai and Shenzhen fell as much as 2 percent.

The declines followed the unplanned release of China’s GDP figures and other economic data, which beat expectations with growth of 3.9 percent, yet recorded much slower growth than the country had become accustomed to in recent decades.

The jitters were heightened by the delay in releasing the data, originally scheduled for last Tuesday. The numbers were released with little warning after China’s historic 20th party conference, where leader Xi Jinping secured a precedent-breaking third term in the country’s key political roles.

During the conference, Xi showed little willingness to change course from his strict zero-covid policy. The policy, which aims to eliminate cases of the virus with strict lockdowns, has hammered China’s growth prospects this year.

“This is panic selling,” said Dickie Wong, head of research at Kingston Securities in Hong Kong. “Obviously, investors are just not sure about the future of China’s economy.”

In other markets, Japan’s Topix rose 0.4 percent and South Korea’s Kospi 0.9 percent. Those moves followed sharp gains in the US on Friday, where the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite both rose more than 2 percent after a report the Federal Reserve could slow the pace of its rate hikes from December.

Oil prices fell after early gains, with Brent oil, the international benchmark, falling 0.5 percent to trade at $93.03 a barrel and the US West Texas Intermediate falling by the same margin to $84.60.

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