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Hong Kong Stocks close lower

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The Hong Kong share market closed marginally lower after seesawing within a narrow range on Monday, 09 September 2019, as risk sentiments weighed down by Sunday protest violence. Market losses were, however, limited on expectation that Beijing may introduce more monetary and consumption support measures after Chinese customs data showed the country's exports unexpectedly fell in August and below-par US jobs data reinforced expectations the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates this month. At closing bell, the Hang Seng Index declined 0.04%, or 9.36 points, to 26,681.40. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index was down 0.13%, or 13.28 points, to 10,417.39.

The sluggishness in Hong Kong trading came after 14 straight weekends of protests. On Sunday, protesters vandalized entrances of several MTR stations and set fire to one, leading police to respond with tear gas and arrests.

The People's Bank of China on Friday cut the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) for banks by 50 basis points and 100 basis points for some banks, a move which could unleash 900 billion yuan of funds into the financial system to quench the thirst of highly leveraged borrowers and an economy whose growth pace is expected to slow to the worst annual pace on record.

Chinese customs data showed the country's exports unexpectedly fell in August, pointing to further weakness in the world's second-largest economy. August exports fell 1% on-year, customs data showed Sunday.

Slower-than-expected U. S. payroll growth in August hinted at a slowing U. S. economy, helping cement expectations of an interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve later this month. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell said Friday that the central bank would continue to act "as appropriate" to sustain economic expansion in the world's biggest economy. There are also expectations that the European Central Bank would cut interest rates on Thursday.

Further, Sino-US trade tensions have eased somewhat as the two countries agreed to resume talks in October, though there were doubts if any material progress would be made this time.

China and the US on Thursday, 05 September 2019, agreed to hold high-level talks in early October in Washington, cheering investors hoping for a trade war thaw as new US tariffs on Chinese consumer goods chip away at global growth. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Friday the United States wants "near term" results from trade talks in September and October but cautioned that the trade conflict could take years to resolve.

Blue chips were mostly weaker. HSBC (00005) edged up 0.5% to HK$58.2. HKEX (00388) was steady at HK$249.4. Tencent (00700) fell 0.3% to HK$342.4. China Mobile (00941) softened 0.2% to HK$66. AIA (01299) inched up 0.4% to HK$79.7.

Shares of energy companies gained after crude oil prices rose amid rising tension between the US and Iran. PetroChina (00857) shot up 3.3% to HK$4.12. Sinopec (00386) gained 0.9% to HK$4.68. CNOOC (00883) rose 0.2% to HK$12.02. China Oilfield Services (02883) also rose 0.2% to HK$9.71.

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

First Published: Mon, September 09 2019. 17:06 IST