April 15, 2019 / 8:40 AM / in 9 days

Hong Kong shares inch down on global slowdown fears

* Hang Seng down 0.3 pct, H-shares off 0.2 pct

* China trade data mixed, GDP seen lower; Lending up

* Finance officials warn on global trade, growth risks

HONG KONG, April 15 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks ended lower on Monday, as signs of slowing China and global economic growth offset optimism related to the Sino-U.S. trade talks and a jump in bank lending in China. ** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was down 0.3 percent at 29,810.72 points. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index fell 0.2 percent. ** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares lost 0.6 percent, the IT sector dipped 0.9 percent, the financial sector ended 0.1 percent higher and property shares slid 0.7 percent. ** China’s imports shrank for a fourth straight month and at a sharper pace, customs data showed on Friday. Exports rebounded, but the rise was partly driven by seasonal factors, said analysts. ** China’s first-quarter economy growth likely cooled to the weakest pace in at least 27 years, a Reuters poll showed. ** China’s new bank loans rebounded in March, rising far more than expected. ** Central banks and fiscal authorities have limited policy options to drive a rebound in global growth, officials at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meeting said on Saturday. ** U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday he is hopeful Beijing and Washington are “getting close to the final round of concluding issues,” and that the two sides will continue the talks via phone this week. ** The United States is softening its demands that China curb industrial subsidies as a condition for a trade deal, sources briefed on the matter told Reuters. ** However, “the market can react quite negatively” to the absence of a U.S.-China deal, and any such agreement must address structural factors like intellectual property, Changyong Rhee, director of the IMF’s Asia and Pacific department, said on Friday. ** The top gainer on the Hang Seng was Sands China Ltd , which rose 1.9 percent, while the biggest loser was Sunny Optical Technology Group Co Ltd, which fell 2.7 percent. ** MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index rose slightly by 0.1 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 1.4 percent. ** About 2.07 billion Hang Seng index shares were traded, compared to 1.61 billion in the previous session. ** At close, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 25.36 percent to the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. (Reporting by Noah Sin in Hong Kong; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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