(Bloomberg) -- Chinese stocks listed in Hong Kong slumped as trading resumed after a holiday, hurt by a broad risk-off mood across the region and continued concern about the nation’s economic outlook.
The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index slid 3.2%, the most in nearly three months. Support from mainland traders was absent as markets there remain closed for the Golden Week holiday, while bets for higher US interest rates boosted the dollar and sapped sentiment across the region.
The poor start to a new quarter reflects the entrenched pessimism that has plagued Chinese equities for much of this year. Tuesday’s broad declines in Hong Kong came despite positive data from China’s holiday weekend, which showed a doubling in tourism revenue from a year earlier. A report from Morgan Stanley showed global funds further trimmed their Chinese stock holdings in September, lowering their average position on the market to the lowest level since 2020.
“Chinese investors are not participating this week because of holidays, so you can argue that the investor base is skewed toward those with a negative China bias,” said Vey-Sern Ling, managing director at Union Bancaire Privee. Investor interest in China is declining, with the selloff in Hong Kong exacerbated by “concerns about Fed keeping rates higher for longer,” he added.
Equities listed in Hong Kong are linked more closely to foreign fund flows than onshore Chinese shares, making them typically more vulnerable to global events. A measure of Asian shares was on track for its lowest close since November after hawkish signaling from the Federal Reserve intensified a selloff in Treasuries and boosted the dollar.
Mainland traders offered support for Hong Kong shares during the September rout, buying on a net basis in all but three session via trading links, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Southbound flows account for around 15% of the Asian financial hub’s turnover, said Marvin Chen, a strategist at Bloomberg Intelligence.
Technology and financial stocks were among the biggest drags on the HSCEI gauge, which remains one of the world’s worst-performing major equity markets this year. The index has wiped out all its gains from Friday, when hopes of a spending binge during China’s holiday helped lift sentiment. Trading in mainland China remains shut this week.
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As Golden Week is typically a peak season for new home sales, this week’s data “will be a good indicator of what we can expect for the rest of the year for the property market,” said David Chao, Asia Pacific ex-Japan strategist at Invesco Asset Management.
--With assistance from Charlotte Yang.
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