China Relaxes Rules, Markets Leap

Shares in the Asia-Pacific mostly rose on Monday as China relaxed virus testing rules in some cities, signaling more easing may come in the nation, which has been under strict COVID-related restrictions for more than two years.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 recovered 42.5 points, or 0.2%, to 27,820/40.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng roared ahead 842.94 points, or 4.5%, to 19,518.29.

Chinese technology, consumer and travel-related firms listed in Hong Kong saw sharp gains in early trade after some cities in China saw some easing in COVID restrictions.

Tech heavyweights Tencent gained 5.5% and Meituan rose 3.5%, while Alibaba jumped 4.72% and Xiaomi added 7.3%. EV stocks such as Li Auto jumped 9.2% and Nio climbed 11.5%.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong-listed casino stocks also jumped, with MGM China rising 12.4%, Wynn Macau climbing 12.4% and Sands China adding 7.5%. Galaxy Entertainment rose 3.6% and SJM Holdings rose 4.8%.

Hotpot restaurant operator Haidilao soared 15%, and shares of airlines also popped. China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines each rose more than 5%, while Air China gained 4%.

Oil prices rose 2% before paring gains to trade around 0.5% higher as OPEC+ stuck to its policy of lowering oil production and China relaxed some COVID rules.

Australia’s central bank is expected to raise its cash rate by 25 basis points to 3.1% on Tuesday, according to economists polled by Reuters.

That would be the Reserve Bank of Australia’s eighth hike this year, and the third consecutive hike of 25 basis points since October.
In a statement following its November meeting, the RBA said “the full effect” of the series of cash rate hikes lie ahead.


In Shanghai, the CSI 300 regained 75.93 points, or 2%, to 3,946.88.

The Caixin/S&P Global services Purchasing Managers’ Index for November came in at 46.7, representing the lowest reading in six months.

The print also marks the third consecutive month of contraction in output and new work, after October’s reading came in at 48.4, while September’s print was 49.3.

PMI readings are sequential and represent month-on-month changes in factory activity. The 50-point mark separates growth from contraction.

The Chinese currency strengthened to around 7 against the U.S. dollar following the latest reports that signaled further loosening of China’s Covid policies.

The offshore yuan traded at 6.9861 against the greenback, strengthening past 7-levels for the first time since mid-September.

In other markets

In Taiwan, the Taiex gained 10.06 points, or 0.1%, to 14,980.74

In Korea, the Kospi index ditched 15.01 points, or 0.6%, to 2,419.32.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index poked ahead 8.4 points, or 0.3%, to 3,267.54.

In Australia, the ASX 200 recouped 24.14 points, or 0.3%, to 7,325.60.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 jumped 35.9 points, or 0.3%, to 11,677.75.