China, Hong Kong stocks fall on soft bank lending, Sino-US tensions

SHANGHAI: China and Hong Kong stocks fell on Thursday, after the former’s latest bank lending data missed forecasts, and as Sino-U.S. tensions weighed.

** The CSI300 index fell 0.8% to 5,003.72 points at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.7% to 3,437.14 points.

** The Hang Seng index dropped 0.9% to 27,970.78 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 1.2% to 10,434.23.

** Chinese banks extended 1.47 trillion yuan ($227.74 billion) in new yuan loans in April, down from March and missing analysts’ expectations.

** Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted new yuan loans would drop to 1.6 trillion yuan in April, down from 2.73 trillion yuan in the previous month and 1.7 trillion yuan a year earlier.

** The trend of China’s credit “shift” is continuing, as Beijing targets to stabilize macro leverage ratio for the full-year target, Haitong Securities noted in a report.

** Tensions between Beijing and Washington added to the pressure.

** The Chinese government has turned its western Xinjiang province into essentially an “open-air prison”, a U.S. State Department official said on Wednesday as the department published a report that criticized China’s treatment of religious minorities.

** Materials slid, with the CSI300 materials index and the Hang Seng materials index down 3.2% and 3.7%, respectively by midday break.

** China will monitor changes in overseas and domestic markets and effectively cope with a fast increase in commodity prices, the state council said on Wednesday.

** Bucking the broad weakness, shares of traditional Chinese medicine makers rose, aided by report of Beijing’s support for the sector.

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