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A man looks at an electronic board at a brokerage house in Shanghai. Photo: Reuters

Hong Kong stocks sink as Covid-19 variant threatens recovery outlook while oil prices retreat

  • Hong Kong to ban all flights from the UK to prevent the spread of the infectious Delta variant, while others in Asia have tightened travel curbs
  • Oil producers led losses as dimming recovery outlook slammed crude prices by the most in a week; CATL jumped on a battery deal with Tesla China
Stocks in Hong Kong and mainland China fell from near a four-week high amid renewed concerns about the spread of an infectious Covid-19 variant as governments tightened border controls and travel curbs in the region.
The Hang Seng Index tumbled by the most in a week, losing 0.9 per cent to 28,994.10. The gauge slipped for a second day, following shortened trading on Monday due to black rainstorm. The Shanghai Composite dropped 0.9 per cent while the CSI 300 fell 1.2 per cent, the most in two weeks.

Oil giants led decliners after crude prices fell by the most in a week as the spread of Delta variant threatened global economic recovery. Sinopec tumbled 4.6 per cent to HK$3.95 while PetroChina retreated 4.1 per cent to HK$3.70 and CNOOC dropped 2.9 per cent to HK$8.83.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific also fell. Japan’s Nikkei 225 dropped 0.8 per cent, while South Korea’s Kospi depreciated 0.5 per cent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.1 per cent.

“Markets are becoming a bit worried about the spread of the Delta variant, which could dent economic recovery prospects,” said Stanley Chan, director of research at Emperor Securities. “The situation is quite severe in the UK. This more infectious strain could even affect those who are vaccinated.”

Hong Kong will put Britain back on its list of “extremely high-risk” countries and ban incoming travellers from Thursday in a bid to keep out the Delta variant. A cluster emerged in recent weeks in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, while new cases were found in Taiwan. Malaysia on Sunday extended a nationwide lockdown indefinitely as cases showed no sign of abating. Sydney has also widened its lockdown on Saturday.


Hong Kong to ban all travellers from UK to try and block Covid-19 Delta variant

Hong Kong to ban all travellers from UK to try and block Covid-19 Delta variant

Meanwhile, China’s central bank said while its economy was showing more stability, both the domestic and international environments remained complex and grim. It will step up coordination with policies and prevent “external shocks”, the central bank’s monetary policy committee said in a statement late on Monday.

In Shanghai, liquor distiller Kweichow Moutai fell 2 per cent to 2,062 yuan, while Ping An Insurance dropped 1.9 per cent to 64.38 yuan. Electric-car battery maker Contemporary Amperex surged 3 per cent in Shenzhen to 508.51 yuan after extending a supply contract with Tesla in China by 30 months to December 2025.

Shenzhen Lihexing, which manufactures power automation equipment, rose 297 per cent to 34.65 yuan from its listing price of 8.72 yuan in Shenzhen.