by Zhang Shidong at scmp.com
Hong Kong stocks fell for a fourth day, capping the longest streak of declines in two months, after slowing credit growth in China and weak US job figures added to evidence that economic activity is moderating.
The Hang Seng Index lost 0.6 per cent to 19,627.24 at the close, extending the weekly drop to 2.1 per cent. The four-day decline was the longest since March 10. The Hang Seng Tech Index advanced 0.3 per cent and the Shanghai Composite Index lost 1.1 per cent.
Stocks most sensitive to economic strength led the decliners. Aluminium maker China Hongqiao Group slumped 6.9 per cent to HK$6.86 and property developer retreated 3.1 per cent to HK$1.88. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China fell 2 per cent to HK$4.33 and China Construction Bank sank 2.4 per cent to HK$5.31. Ping An Insurance shed 3 per cent to HK$55.90 and China Merchants Bank lost 2 per cent to HK$39.50.
All the data “indicate sluggish momentum in the aggregate demand following the tapering of pent-up demand for in-person services,” said Saxo Markets in a research note on Friday.
New yuan loans fell to 719 billion yuan (US$103.5 billion) in April from 3.89 trillion yuan in the previous month, while aggregate financing, the broadest gauge of credit supply, dropped to 1.22 trillion yuan from 5.38 trillion yuan, according to the data released by China’s central bank after the market close on Thursday.
In the US, weekly initial jobless claims reached the highest since October 2021, and producer prices rose at a lower-than-estimated pace in April. While the numbers vindicated the argument for the Federal Reserve to pause the cycle of interest-rate increases, they also put investors on edge about a looming recession.