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China stocks battered by economic data, Evergrande non-payment

Hang Seng Tech Index falls below 20-day moving average.
Casinos and hotels stand illuminated on the Cotai strip in Macau, China. Image: Bloomberg

Chinese stocks retreated as the country’s economic slowdown and news that a major property developer will miss interest payments added pressure to a market still reeling from Beijing’s months-long regulatory crackdown.

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, which tracks Hong Kong-listed Chinese shares, closed 1.6% lower, taking declines to a third day. Country Garden Holdings Co was the worst performer, as property developers slumped after a Bloomberg reported that China Evergrande Group won’t be able to pay debt obligations due next week.

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The news was yet another blow to the region’s equities markets after officials said late Tuesday they would tighten restrictions on Macau casinos, sending a gauge of gaming shares down a record 23%.

“Regulation concerns are again on the top of minds given what has happened to Macau casinos,” said Daniel So, a strategist at CMB International Securities. “Investors are worried that tightening policies will keep coming out to curb technology sector, hence we are seeing further declines.”

Shares of e-commerce companies also slid after China reported weaker-than-expected retail sales figures for August with consumers turning wary amid the Covid outbreak. The Hang Seng Tech Index fell 3.1%, with Alibaba Group Holding, Tencent Holdings, and Meituan contributing most to the losses.

Casino stocks traded in Hong Kong lost a record $18.4 billion after officials laid out plans to step up scrutiny of operators and increase local ownership, signaling tighter control over the world’s largest gambling hub.

Also hurting the sentiment is a report by the official Xinhua News Agency late Tuesday that China will accelerate the drafting and implementation of Internet rules to protect minors also raised concerns. Live streaming giant Kuaishou Technology fell 4.7%.

© 2021 Bloomberg

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