SHANGHAI: Shanghai shares dropped the most in six weeks on Wednesday, and Hong Kong’s stock benchmark fell more than 1%, as China continued to grapple with COVID-19 flare-ups, while energy stocks tracked a sell-off in the global oil market.
The Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.4%, the biggest one-day percentage fall since May 24. The blue-chip CSI300 Index lost 1.5%, while Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index weakened 1.2%.
China is fighting a COVID-19 resurgence on multiple fronts across the country including an emerging cluster in Shanghai, spurring mass testing drives and fresh restrictions.
Shanghai, which lifted its two-month-long lockdown in early-June, is testing all residents in nine of its 16 districts until Thursday as well as those in parts of three other districts.
“The flare-ups in places such as Shanghai and Anhui contributed to the stock market weakness,” said Zhiwei Zhang, president and chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management.
However, he pointed that the market had expected possible increase in infections, so there’re no signs of panic-selling. Zhang also predicted higher volatility ahead as the pace of China’s economic recovery will likely slow.
Energy shares tumbled more than 4% in both China and Hong Kong, after a slump in global oil prices amid fears of a global recession. Most sectors traded in negative territory in both markets.
China’s property shares dropped 3.3%, while resources shares fell 2.9%.
Tech shares were the only bright spot on the mainland, with the tech-focused STAR50 Index rising 1%, led by chipmakers.