China released economic data early Saturday that showed factor activity expanded in July as the slowest pace in 17 months as higher raw material costs, equipment maintenance and extreme weather weighed on business activity, adding to concerns about a slowdown in the world’s second-biggest economy, Reuters reported.
The report follows a week of volatile trading in Chinese markets that left Hong Kong Hang Seng Index 5% lower. Both Hong Kong and mainland-listed stocks fell on Friday, losing the partial recovery they made after diving earlier in the week.
China’s Factory Activity in July Grows at Slowest Pace Since February 2020
The official manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) eased to 50.4 in July from 50.9 in June, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Saturday, but remained above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction.
Analysts had expected it to slip to 50.8. It was the lowest figure since the index slumped to 35.7 in February 2020, after China began lockdowns to control the coronavirus pandemic.
The official non-manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) eased to 53.3 in July, from 53.5 in June, a separate survey from the NBS showed.
Hong Kong, China Stocks Resume Slump on Regulatory Concerns, COVID Jump
Shares in Hong Kong and China resumed their slump on Friday after rebounding in the previous session, with key indexes booking their worst monthly performance in years, as persistent concerns over regulatory crackdowns outweighed Beijing’s attempts to calm markets.
China’s blue-chip CSI300 Index closed down 0.8% and posted its biggest monthly loss since October 2018, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.42%, capping its worst month since 2019.
Hong Kong tech shares slumped again, pulling the benchmark Hang Seng Index to its biggest monthly fall since October 2018.
The Hang Seng closed down 1.4%, following Thursday’s 3.3% rally. Tech giants such as Meituan and Alibaba led Friday’s decline. The Hang Seng Tech Index plunged 2.56%, extending its weekly fall to 6.7%.
Global investors have been dumping shares in Chinese companies after Beijing banned for-profit tutoring on core school subjects, following crackdowns earlier this year on the tech sector. The regulatory moves have revived worries about the risks of investing in China.
Finally, a resurgence in COVID-19 cases in mainland China and Hong Kong also dented investors’ risk appetite.
Chinese Companies Looking for US Listings Must File More Disclosures – SEC Chair
The chair of the US Securities and Exchange Commission said on Friday that he had asked staff to mandate certain disclosures from offshore issuers associated with China-based operating companies before registration statements can be declared effective.
Gary Gensler also said in a statement that the new disclosures will require Chinese companies tell the regulator and investors whether certain actions could affect the firm’s “financial performance and the enforceability of the contractual arrangements.”