China, HK stocks rise after Beijing signals COVID wave peaked

China's blue-chip CSI300 Index rose 2% by the lunch break, while the Shanghai Composite Index climbed 1.4%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was up 0.7%.
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LONDON: China stocks jumped to a four-month high on Monday, while Hong Kong shares also advanced, as investors doubled down their bets on economic recovery after Chinese health officials said COVID-19 infections in the region likely peaked.

** China's blue-chip CSI300 Index rose 2% by the lunch break, while the Shanghai Composite Index climbed 1.4%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was up 0.7%.

** Beijing said on Saturday nearly 60,000 people with COVID-19 had died in hospital since it abandoned its zero-COVID policy last month. But on the bright side, Chinese health officials said the number of patients visiting fever clinics and needing emergency treatment was steadily falling, and the number of severe cases had also peaked.

** "Overall, the latest data confirmed that the worst of China's exit wave is behind us," OCBC Bank wrote in a note on Monday.

** China also reported a sharp rise in travel ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, and on Sunday, China resumed the high-speed rail services between Hong Kong and the mainland for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. The Chinese gambling hub of Macau expected a Spring Festival boom in tourism.

** "Stars are aligning for a China/HK rebound in 2023 after a torrid 2022," DBS wrote. "It won't be a smooth ride. But 4Q22-1Q23 is likely the cyclical trough, in our view."

** China's food and beverage stocks jumped on consumption bets. ** Chinese shares rose across the board.

** China's household deposits increased by 17.84 trillion yuan ($2.66 trillion) in 2022 amid worsening COVID-19 outbreaks, much higher than the net increase of 9.9 trillion yuan in 2021. This will provide ammunition to consumption should China be able to unlock those excessive savings via restoring confidence, analysts said.

** Chinese infrastructure stocks also rose sharply as local governments announced new spending plans for big projects and set bullish growth target for this year.

($1 = 6.6996 Chinese yuan)

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