Property limits China share losses, Hong Kong hit by commodity slide

Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:51am EDT

* HSI -1.6 pct, H-shares -2 pct, CSI300 -0.2 pct

* Commodities carnage weighs on related stocks, copper tumbles

* Belle sinks after quarter's drop in same-store footwear sales y/y

* China internet deals: Citic Bank, ChinaVision soar

By Clement Tan

HONG KONG, March 12 (Reuters) - China shares fell less than others in Asia on Wednesday, limiting Hong Kong losses, as property developers rose on hopes the country's annual parliamentary meetings will end without announcing additional curbs on the sector.

More China macroeconomic data is due on Thursday and could add to slowdown fears after a disappointing series of February data during recent days. While this has sparked some talk of monetary easing, physical commodities markets have taken a beating.

The carnage had started with iron ore prices on Monday and continued with copper on Wednesday, with Shanghai copper falling by its 5 percent daily limit and London copper touching a 44-month low.

At midday, the CSI300 of the largest Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings was down 0.2 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.6 percent. The MSCI Asia ex-Japan was down 1.3 percent at 0400 GMT.

The Hang Seng Index sank 1.6 percent to 21,916.6 points, its lowest since Feb. 11. The China Enterprises Index of the leading offshore Chinese listings in Hong Kong slid 2 percent.

"There's some talk about a cut in reserve requirements for banks after the weak data earlier this week, but it's not so straightforward this time round because of Beijing's reform agenda," said Linus Yip, strategist at First Shanghai Securities.

Reuters reported exclusively on Wednesday that a cut would be triggered if China's annual growth slips below 7.5 percent and towards 7.0 percent, citing sources involved in internal policy discussions.

Yip said that Chinese property counters "are getting a small lift today, but you have to remember how much they corrected leading into the parliamentary meeting and how bearish people were about curbs and developers defaulting."

Shenzhen-listed China Vanke climbed 2 percent to extend a bounce off five-year lows posted in late February, while Shanghai-listed Poly Real Estate rose 2.2 percent.

China's annual parliamentary meetings in Beijing officially end on Thursday, when official data for urban investment, industrial output and retail sales are also due.

Jiangxi Copper tumbled 3 percent to an eight-month low in Hong Kong and has now plunged nearly 12 percent from a Feb. 18 high. Its Shanghai listing sank 1.3 percent.

Other major commodities-related counters such as oil, coal, cement and construction each dropped between 2 and 4 percent in Hong Kong. China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec) H-shares sank 3.9 percent

Belle International tanked 9.8 percent after the China-focused shoe retailer posted its first decline in same-store footwear sales. It said December-February sales were 2.7 percent lower than a year earlier. UBS analyst Spencer Leung said the drop will make Belle's 2014 target of "low single-digit" same-store sales growth "a stretch".

CHINA INTERNET DEAL FRENZY

Citic Bank soared 7.4 percent in Shanghai and 2.4 percent in Hong Kong after the official China Securities Journal reported the mid-sized lender will partner with Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings to launch a "virtual" credit card for e-commerce purchases.

Shares of ChinaVision Media Group more than tripled to HK$2.08 after China's largest e-commerce company Alibaba Group agreed to buy a controlling stake for $804 million, giving Alibaba access to TV and movie content.

The deal is the second in the internet sector this week. Earlier, Tencent said it was taking a stake in China's No. 2 online retailer JD.com, with the partnership gunning for Alibaba's weakness in mobile.

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.