Hong Kong stocks hit 10-month low
MAINLAND CHINA & HONG KONG
Hong Kong shares fell to their lowest since early November, as concerns over a major Chinese property developer’s debt woes and rising government scrutiny on Macau casino operators drove investors to sell.
The Hang Seng Index closed 1.46% lower at 24,667.85, taking declines into a fourth day, with the real estate sector leading the losses. The Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.34% to 3,607.09.
Worries that other Chinese developers may run into similar financial troubles as China Evergrande Group (3333 HK) were intensified after a unit of the Guangzhou-based firm said its onshore bonds were suspended from trading on Thursday (16 September). Traders were also assessing the future prospects for casinos in Macau after their record slump a day ago as Beijing moved to tighten grips on the operators.
A Bloomberg index of the six casino operators in the gambling enclave slumped 5.7%, adding to the record 23% plunge Wednesday.
The government is looking at appointing representatives to “supervise” the casino operators as well as boosting local shareholdings and tightening controls on the distribution of dividends. The regulatory crackdown comes after years of slowing growth and the pandemic, which had brought the city to a virtual standstill. – Bloomberg News.
REST OF ASIA
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration, which is seeking to ensure food security in the world’s second most populous nation, has signed preliminary agreements with the three US titans and a slew of local businesses starting April to share farm statistics it has been gathering since coming to power in 2014. Modi is betting the private sector can help farmers boost yields with apps and tools built from information such as crop output, soil quality, and land holdings.
With the project, Modi is seeking to usher in long-due reforms to make over a farm sector that employs almost half of the nation’s 1.3b people and contributes about a fifth of Asia’s third biggest economy. The government is counting on the project’s success to boost rural incomes, cut imports, reduce some of the world’s worst food wastages with better infrastructure, and eventually compete with exporters such as Brazil, the US, and the European Union.
Besides the tech giants, many smaller companies and startups are likely to join the programme. When completed, the project will form the core of a national digital agriculture ecosystem to help farmers realise better profitability with access to right information at the right time, and to facilitate better planning and execution of policies, according to the government’s consultation paper on digital agriculture. – Bloomberg News.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.63% to 7,413.30 on Friday morning. The benchmark closed 0.58% higher at 7,460.20 the previous session.
South Korea’s Kospi Index opened 0.49% lower at 3,114.73 in early-Friday trading, adding to Thursday’s loss of 0.74% to 3,130.09.
The Taiwan Stock Exchange Weighted Index slid 0.43% to 17,278.70 on Thursday.
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