Asian stocks close mostly in decline, with fears for Covid-19 in China

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Asian stock markets closed mostly lower this Friday (25), pressured by fears that the increase in cases of Covid-19 and the consequent imposition of restrictions on activity in China weigh on the economy of the entire region.

On Thursday, the Asian giant recorded its biggest daily rise in infections since the start of the pandemic.

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The Shanghai Composite index was the exception in the Asian trading session, rising 0.40%, to 3,101.69 points, while the less comprehensive Shenzhen Composite index fell by 0.70%, to 1,984.18 points.

The Hang Seng, of the Hong Kong stock exchange, lost 0.49%, to 17,573.58 points, in a movement that was not impeded by a new strong advance of shares in the real estate sector, such as Country Garden Holdings (+9.54% ), which led the gains.

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“There was some expectation that as the world slows down, China will recover,” said Shuang Ding, chief economist for Greater China and North Asia at Standard Chartered in Hong Kong.

That is now unlikely to happen in the first half of next year, he said, given the impacts of restrictions recently put in place by Beijing to contain the latest outbreak of the virus.

Oxford Economics assesses that risks to the Chinese economy now point to the downside, in a report.

“A pullback in private consumption of a magnitude similar to that of the second quarter of 2022 would push our annual GDP growth forecast for 2022 into the 2.0-2.5% range, from our current estimate of 3.1%. In 2023, a later reopening than we currently expect (that is, for the first half of 2024) could drop almost 1 percentage point from our 4.2% growth forecast for 2023”, warns the house.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei index fell 0.35%, to 28,283.03 points, and the South Korean Kospi dropped 0.14%, to 2,437.86 points. In Japan, the focus was on consumer inflation in the capital Tokyo, which accelerated to an annual high of 3.8% in November, the highest increase in three decades according to Capital Economics.

“We still don’t think that the Bank of Japan (BoJ) will tighten monetary policy, as the economy is much more unstable, as indicated by the surprising contraction of GDP in the third quarter”, he ponders, however.

Among other markets, the Taiwanese Taiex index fell 0.04% to 14,778.51 points, while the Australian S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.24% to 7,259.50 points.

Source: CNN Brasil

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