Hong Kong Market rises to 3-month high on Fed, China COVID policy pivots

December 01,2022

Hong Kong share market finished higher for third straight session on Thursday, 01 December 2022, as risk sentiments strengthened on tracking Wall Street's gains overnight after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell struck a more dovish tone than the market expected, while the easing of COVID-19 curbs in two major Chinese cities further spurred risk appetite. Adding to risk sentiments was optimism that Beijing will roll out more pro-growth measures to arrest a slowdown in growth.

At closing bell, the benchmark Hang Seng Index spurted 139.21 points, or 0.75%, to 18,736.44, the highest close since September 15. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index surged 10.46 points, or 0.16%, to 6,384.90.

Investors cheered as the US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell indicated a slowdown in interest rate increases as soon as December. Powell suggested that the US central bank is preparing to raise its benchmark rate by 0.5 percentage points when its monetary policy committee gathers in December, after a string of 0.75-point increases. Powell's remarks followed government data released earlier on Wednesday that showed a decline in job openings in October, indicating that this year's monetary tightening has slowed down the labour market.

Adding to the upbeat sentiment were the easing of restrictions in the Chinese cities of Guangzhou and Chongqing following a string of protests. Chongwing will now allow close contacts of people with COVID-19 to quarantine at home, while Guangzhou lifted lockdowns in some parts of the city. The policy path for now is towards looser Covid-19 restriction and a shift from the dynamic zero strategy that the government had held onto in the past.

Among blue chips, Alibaba Group jumped 3.6% to HK$82.80, and Tencent climbed 2.5% to HK$294.40. Baidu surged 5.1% to HK$106.80, and jewellery retailer Chow Tai Fook gained 5.7% to HK$14.44.

Chinese electric-vehicle maker Xpeng soared 12.8% to HK$37.95 after third-quarter margins beat expectations despite wider losses.

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