Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index (HSI) tumbled nearly 400 points, while mainland stock markets also slumped, after the latest economic figures indicated that China’s economy may be slowing at a faster rate.
Export data and the Producer Price Index for February released over the weekend were both below analyst estimates.
The HSI gave up as much as 454 points before closing 395 points or 1.75 percent lower at 22,264.
The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, the main gauge for H shares, fell 1.78 percent to finish at 9,536. The Shanghai Composite Index closed more than 2.8 percent lower at 1,999 points.
China Merchants Holdings International (00144.HK) dived 4.1 percent, becoming the day’s worst-performing blue chip. All other HSI constituents, except for Li & Fung (00494.HK), ended lower for the day.
The country’s three telecommunications carriers including China Mobile (00941.HK) fell between 3.2 and 3.7 percent as investors worried that the operators may have to lower 4G monthly fees to retain customers.
Bleak economic data also weighed on the cement sector. China Resources Cement (01313.HK) tumbled more than 5.3 percent while Anhui Conch Cement (00914.HK) slumped nearly 4 percent.
Mainland airline and insurance plays fell as the disappearance of a Malaysian jetliner with 239 people on board hurt sentiment. China Life Insurance dropped 2.3 percent, Ping An Insurance Group (02318.HK) fell 1.7 percent while People’s Insurance Co. Group (01339.HK) gave up 1.8 percent.
China Southern Airlines (01055.HK) fell 3.8 percent and Air China (00753.HK) was down 2.4 percent.
Meanwhile, Tencent (00700.HK) announced it will become the third largest shareholder of mainland online sales platform JD.com. China South City (01668.HK), a subsidiary of Tencent, jumped 8.7 percent for the day.
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