China Tumbles on Stimulus Concerns

Stocks in China tumbled on Thursday amid worries that Beijing could pull back on stimulus measures following recent better-than-expected economic data.

The Nikkei 225 regained 107.58 points, or 0.5%, 22,307.58.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong collapsed 256.03 points, or 0.9%, to 29,549.80, with shares of Chinese tech giant Tencent falling beyond 2%.

The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy steady on Thursday, and said it intends to keep interest rates “extremely low” until at least till 2020.

The short-term policy interest rate was left at minus 0.1%, along with a pledge to guide 10-year governmental bond yields around 0%, largely in line with market expectations.

The Japanese yen traded at 111.77 U.S. after seeing an earlier low of 112.23.

Korean markets receded, after the South Korean economy shrank unexpectedly in the first quarter, seeing its worst performance since the global financial crisis, Reuters reported. Following that data, several economists downgraded their 2019 growth forecasts for South Korea.

Shares of chipmaker SK Hynix jumped 2.17% after the company said it expects demand for memory chips to recover later in 2019.

Meanwhile, LG Electronics also saw its stock surge 4.48% following a report that said the company was looking to suspend manufacturing of its mobile phones in South Korea.

LG Electronics said the move was part of its “global strategy to make LG phones more competitive,” emphasizing that it was not downsizing its smartphone business.

CHINA

The CSI 300 in China lost 88.27 points, or 2.2%, to 4.941.82

Stocks on the mainland have been on a general decline throughout the week as concerns over a potential paring back of stimulus measures by the Chinese government weighed on investor sentiment.

Despite Thursday’s declines, the Shanghai composite remained more than 25% higher as compared to its final close of 2018. In that same time period, both the Shenzhen component and Shenzhen composite are up more than 30% each.

In other markets

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index docked 12.15 points, or 0.4%, to 3,350.28

Korea’s Kospi Index slipped 10.53 points, or 0.5%, to 2,190.50

The Taiex Index in Taiwan recovered 12.22 points, or 0.1%, to 11,039.86

Markets in New Zealand and Australia were closed Thursday for ANZAC Day