Wednesday, March 22

Hong Kong shares close lower, Meituan falls on China measures

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SHANGHAI — Hong Kong shares ended lower on Friday dragged by tech shares, after China’s regulators proposed measures that would require online food delivery platforms to reduce fees for restaurants, while other developments on the mainland helped prop up property firms. ** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was down 465.06 points, or 1.88%, at 24,327.71. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index fell 1.99% to 8,537.97.

** For the week, the Hang Seng index lost 0.47%, falling the most in three weeks. ** Leading the losses, the IT sector dipped 4.48% with China’s food-delivery giant Meituan slumping 14.86% as the biggest loser on the Hang Seng. ** The National Development and Reform Commission said it would guide online food delivery platforms to lower operating costs for catering businesses by reducing service fees, or commissions.

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** China’s banking and insurance regulator also warned against using the metaverse as a tool for illegal fund-raising, amid widespread interest in the country’s private sector.

** Kuaishou Technology, which fell 4.86%, led the plunge in Hong Kong-listed metaverse related stocks.

** The state planner will also take steps to ensure supply and stabilize prices of key raw materials, including iron ore and fertilizer as it looks to promote steady growth in industry.

** Property shares gained with the sector rising 1.48%. A handful of Chinese cities started to relax down-payment rules for home purchases in a bid to reignite buyer interest. ** China’s main Shanghai Composite index closed up 0.66% at 3,490.76 points, while the blue-chip CSI300 index ended up 0.48%. ** Among other developments, China’s top finance minister vowed more fiscal support ahead of the party congress and China Orient Asset Management secured approval to issue bonds to resolve risks in property sector.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.67%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.41%. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.3261 per US dollar at 08:08 UTC, 0.19% firmer than the previous close of 6.338. (Reporting by the Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)