China stocks fall, bank turmoil drops Hang Seng to near three-month low

China stocks fall, bank turmoil drops Hang Seng to near three-month low

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Hong Kong — China and Hong Kong stocks widened their losses on Thursday, weighed by new energy and oil stocks, as Swiss regulators’ unprecedented move to pledge a liquidity lifeline to top lender Credit Suisse stoked fears of a banking crisis.

** China’s blue chip CSI300 Index was down 1.2%, lowest since Jan. 4; while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 1.12%.

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** The Hong Kong benchmark Hang Seng was down 1.72%, lowest level since Dec. 21, 2022; while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index lost 1.18%

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** Asian stocks slid on Thursday after Credit Suisse said it would borrow up to $54 billion from Switzerland’s central bank to shore up its liquidity after a slump in its shares intensified fears about a global financial crisis.

** This is the latest fallout since the demise of Silicon Valley Bank last week put markets on edge ahead of a European Central Bank (ECB) meeting later in the day.

** “The ECB meeting would be interesting because it will be the first central bank to make comments since the failure of Silicon Valley Bank. The market was expecting a 50 bps (basis point) cut, but now (it is) up in the air,” said Alvin Tan, head of Asia currency strategy at RBC Capital Markets.

** In China, new home prices rose at the fastest pace since July 2021, edging up 0.3% month-on-month in February from a 0.1% gain in January.

** This adds to positive fixed asset investment and retail sales data. “The ongoing consumption rebound and improvement in investment growth send encouraging signs that the Chinese economy is strengthening,” Bank of America analysts said in a research note.

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** In Hong Kong, Baidu Inc. led the decliners, down 6.36%. Oil stocks also weighed on the blue chip index, as CNOOC dropped 4.91%.

** In China, the CSI SWS Coal Index was down 3.39% and new energy stocks tracked by the CSI Photovoltaic Industry Index dropped 4.69%.

(Reporting by Hong Kong Newsroom; editing by Sonia Cheema and Jason Neely)

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