H-K Springs Back on Relaxation of COVID Rules

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index popped on Thursday, as a local news outlet reported the city is considering further easing of CPVID measures, including lifting its outdoor mask rule and relaxing mandatory testing for arrivals.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 declined 111.97 points, or 0.4%, to 27,574.43.

Japan’s economy saw an annualized quarterly contraction of 0.8% in the third quarter, with the revised gross domestic product reading beating expectations in a Reuters survey for a 1.1% contraction.

The government’s first preliminary estimate released in November was a 1.2% decline.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng restocked 635.41 points, or 3.4%, to 19,450.23.

Airlines stocks rose – Cathay Pacific gained 3.4%, Air China climbed 4.25%, China Eastern Airlines added more than 2%, and China Southern Airlines also rose 3.33%.

Casinos also saw a lift, led by Wynn Macau rising more than 16% in the morning session. MGM China rose 10%, Sands China rose 7.23%, and Galaxy Entertainment rose 4.6%.

Shares of beauty retailer Sa Sa International rose more than 14% after the report.

Australia’s trade surplus for October came in at 12.2 billion Australian dollars ($8.19 billion U.S.), slightly larger than expected, official data showed.

Economists polled by Reuters predicted a print of 12.1 billion Australian dollars, expecting a further drop than reported – after the economy saw a trade surplus of 12.4 billion Australian dollars.

Fitch Ratings expects home prices in Australia to see a significant drop of between 7% to 10% next year, it said in its latest outlook report.

CHINA

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 inched up 0.74 points to 3,959.18.

China’s health authorities announced guidelines for treating COVID patients at home on Thursday, a day after formalizing a policy that allows most infected patients to quarantine at home, as part of easing measures in the country.

The notice on the National Health Commission’s website said patients should isolate in a separate room if possible, and self administer antigen tests.

In other markets

In Taiwan, the Taiex slipped 76.97 points, or 0.3%, to 14,553.04

In Korea, the Kospi index ditched 11.73 points, or 0.5%, to 2,371.08.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index regained 10.63 points, or 0.8%, to 3,225.45.

In Australia, the ASX 200 dropped 53.84 points, or 0.7%, to 7,175.55.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 edged up 6.16 points, or 0.1%, to 11,617.14.