Sept 1 (Reuters) – China and Hong Kong stocks ended lower on Thursday, tracking lacklustre performances in other Asian markets, as fresh COVID-19 cases in the mainland worsened an already grim global economic outlook.
China’s blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.9% to 4,043.74 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index ended 0.5% lower at 3,184.98 points.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index dropped 1.8% to 19,597.31 points.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slumped 1.9%, following overnight losses on the Wall Street, amid fresh signs of economic weakness.
Regional purchasing managers’ indexes from South Korea, Japan and China all pointed to slowing global economic activity as stubborn inflation, rising interest rates and the war in Ukraine took a heavy toll.
Although inflation in China is modest and the country’s interest rates keep falling, COVID-19 cases and a deteriorating property crisis threaten nascent economic recovery.
The southern Chinese tech hub Shenzhen tightened COVID-19 curbs, as cases continued to mount on Thursday.
Chinese stocks rose earlier in the day on hopes of fresh economic stimulus, but were knocked down following news reports that Chengdu – the capital city of southwestern Sichuan province – will conduct mass COVID-19 testing from Thursday to Sunday.
“With virus disruptions spreading again, foreign demand cooling, the property sector still in a downward spiral and stimulus failing to gain traction there are few reasons to expect a near-term turnaround,” wrote Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics.
China’s CSI Tourism Index tumbled 4%, the most in two months, on fears that the worsening COVID situation will continue to damp appetite for travel.
Banking stocks also fell after China’s biggest lenders signalled wounds from the country’s property debt crisis.
Hong Kong shares fell across the board, with consumer .and industrial firms leading the losses.
(Reporting by the Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)