(Bloomberg) — A gauge of Chinese shares traded in Hong Kong inched closer to bear-market territory as a wobbling economic recovery, intensifying geopolitical tensions and a weaker yuan keep investors away.
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The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index slumped as much as 0.8% in a volatile morning session on Monday, taking its losses from a Jan. 27 peak to more than 19%. Meituan was the biggest drag amid concerns that increased competition will dent the e-commerce firm’s profitability.
The grim milestone comes as China’s post-Covid recovery loses momentum and earnings fall short of high expectations. Investors say the market lacks catalysts for a rebound as frictions with the US on issues from technology to Taiwan keep sentiment in check. The HSCEI gauge has erased about half of the gains seen during a three-month reopening rally through January. Down about 6% this year, it is among the worst performers in Asia.
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Profits at industrial firms in China kept falling in the first four months of the year, underlining cooling demand and deepening factory-gate deflation in the world’s second-largest economy. Industrial profits fell 20.6% in the January-April period from the same time frame in 2022, data published Saturday by the National Bureau of Statistics showed.
“China’s domestic recovery just hasn’t been as strong as expected, and not enough to offset worries of a global slowdown,” said Marvin Chen, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. “Markets may be getting fatigued waiting on catalysts such as monetary easing or thawing in US tensions, and are looking elsewhere for growth.”
China’s onshore CSI 300 Index fell as much as 0.8% on Monday, after having erased all its gains for 2023 last week amid a weaker yuan and developers’ debt woes. Meanwhile, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index of regional climbed as sentiment improved following a deal between President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on the US debt ceiling.
As losses deepen, Chinese equities…