Hong Kong stocks set for worst month since August as China manufacturing extends slump, Fed to offer no early relief

Hong Kong stocks set for worst month since August as China manufacturing extends slump, Fed to offer no early relief

Hong Kong stocks set for worst month since August as China manufacturing extends slump, Fed to offer no early relief

Hong Kong stocks set for worst month since August as China manufacturing extends slump, Fed to offer no early relief

Hong Kong stocks were headed for the worst performance in five months after China’s manufacturing shrank in January, underlining the lack of stimulus to spur recovery. The Federal Reserve is seen holding rates this week, offering no immediate relief to the city’s real estate market.

The Hang Seng Index fell 0.4 per cent to 15,641.84 at 9.48am local time, taking the decline for the month to 8.2 per cent, the worst since an 8.5 per cent slump in August last year. The Tech Index dropped 0.9 per cent and the Shanghai Composite Index retreated 0.4 per cent.

Alibaba Group lost 1 per cent to HK$70.45 and Tencent slipped 0.4 per cent to HK$273, while Meituan shed 2.9 per cent to HK$63.55. WuXi Biologics slumped for a fourth day, sliding 4.5 per cent to HK$21.35. Its affiliate WuXi Apptec tumbled 2 per cent to HK$55.20.

The official PMI manufacturing index stood at 49.2 in January versus 49 in December, the statistics bureau said on Wednesday, staying below the 50-point threshold since September. The reading also trailed consensus estimates for 49.3 among economists tracked by Bloomberg.

Market also weakened as trades bet the Fed will hold rates unchanged at its first policy meeting of the year later today. The decision will offer no immediate relief to Hong Kong’s real estate market, which has suffered from rate increases since March 2022.

Hong Kong property prices hit lowest since January 2017 on high interest rates

This month’s setback is also set to be the local market’s worst start to a year since the first month of 2016 when the Hang Seng Index lost 10 per cent.

Beijing’s piecemeal support measures and the renewed geopolitical risks ahead of the US presidential elections this year, coupled with the shock from the liquidation of China Evergrande Group, have clouded China’s recovery outlook.

Other major Asian markets were mixed. Japan’s Nikkei 225 slipped 0.8 per cent and South Korea’s Kospi retreated 0.1 per cent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3 per cent.

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