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Hong Kong Market extends losses on civic unrest

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The Hong Kong stock market closed lower for a second straight day on Thursday, 14 November 2019, as risk off selloff continued amid concern about spiraling anti-government protests in the island city, soft Chinese economic data and on uncertainty around an anticipated initial China-US trade deal. At closing bell, the benchmark Hang Seng Index declined 0.93%, or 247.77 points, to 26,323.69. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index sank 0.87%, or 91.74 points, to 10,427.38.

Risk aversion selloff triggered as the civic upheaval shows no sign of ending in the embattled city. As anti-government protests rattled the city for a fourth straight day, transport, schools and many businesses closed for safety concerns. The protests began in June over a proposed extradition law and have grown to include demands for greater democracy and other grievances.

Further fuelling the sell-off was China's poor October data. China's industrial production, a measure of growth in sectors such as manufacturing, mining and utilities, expanded by 4.7% cent last month, down from 5.8% in September. In another piece of data released by China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Thursday, fixed asset investment, purchases of capital goods, real estate and infrastructure, grew by 5.2% in the first 10 months of the year, down from September's reading of 5.4%. Retail sales, a key metric of consumption in the world's most populous nation, grew by 7.2% in October from a year previous.

A Beijing-based think tank has become the first Chinese economic research institute linked to the government to predict that China's economic growth rate will slow below 6% next year. The National Institution for Finance and Development (NIFD) on Wednesday said that China's economic growth rate will slow to 5.8% in 2020 from an estimated 6.1% this year. This is at the bottom end of China's target range of 6 to 6.5% growth for 2019, and further indicates the continued downward pressure on the economy from the trade war with the United States as well as domestic headwinds.

In Sino-US trade deal, uncertainty about a potential deal between the world's two biggest economies remain on the table as President Donald Trump failed to offer many details about the trade talks in a speech on Tuesday. President Trump said China had agreed to buy up to $50 billion in U. S. soybeans, pork and other agricultural products annually, but China is reluctant to put a numerical commitment in the text of a potential agreement.

The dispute over farm purchases is one of several issues that have delayed completion of the limited trade accord announced by Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Oct. 11. Both sides are also at odds over when and by how much the U. S. would agree to lift tariffs on Chinese imports. Chinese officials have also resisted U. S. demands for a strong enforcement mechanism for the deal and curbs on the forced transfer of technology for companies seeking to do business in China.

Property counters continued its recent decline on rising social unrest. New World Development (00017) edged down 0.6% to HK$10.4. Sun Hung Kai Properties (00016) shed 1.3% to HK$108. Hang Lung Properties (00101) dropped 1.5% to HK$16.06. Wharf REIC (01997) fell 1.2% to HK$41.78. Henderson Land Development (00012) softened 0.8% to HK$36.95. Sino Land (00083) slipped 1% to HK$11.32. CK Asset (01113) weakened by 0.8% to HK$52.

Tencent, the Chinese social media behemoth, slid 2.3% to HK$319.80. Third-quarter profit attributable to shareholders fell 13% from a year earlier to 20.4 billion yuan (US$2.9 billion), the company said after the market closed on Wednesday.

361 Degrees International slumped 16% to HK$1.35, the biggest drop since September 2017, after the Chinese sportswear maker said its auditor KPMG quit because the two parties could not reach a consensus on the audit service fee.

Cathay Pacific Airways shed 0.8% to HK$9.91 after the carrier said Cathay Dragon's traffic in October decreased 7.1% from a year ago.

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, November 14 2019. 18:47 IST