Tech Audit, Reopening Bets Fuel Best China Stock Rally in Years

Tech Audit, Reopening Bets Fuel Best China Stock Rally in Years

(Bloomberg) — Chinese stocks in Hong Kong headed for their best week since 2015 as a US audit of the nation’s companies showed signs of progress, adding to earlier optimism sparked by bets Beijing may ease its strict pandemic rules.

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A gauge of equities listed in Hong Kong jumped as much as 8.8% in Friday’s session. The index is up about 12% for the week after unverified social media posts circulated earlier, claiming that a committee was being formed to assess scenarios on how to exit Covid Zero. That’s helped it erase losses suffered after last month’s Communist Party congress.

Tech stocks were the biggest gainers on Friday, with the Hang Seng Tech Index surging almost 11%. US audit officials completed their first on-site inspection round of Chinese companies ahead of schedule, according to people familiar with the matter, a sign of progress in the closely watched process to prevent the delisting of hundreds of stocks from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to Yum China Holdings Inc.

“With so many positive chatters in the market, the indexes are having a relief rally, said Willer Chen, an analyst at Forsyth Barr Asia Ltd. “A rumor of smooth talks between China-US over audits helped the sentiment as well” alongside growing talks about reopening, he added.

Rumor mills have infused strong optimism this week in embattled China markets, where traders have been seeking reasons to scoop up shares in one of the world’s worst-performing major markets. Stocks have rallied even as authorities have given no indication of a change in their stance on Covid Zero.

The CSI 300 Index, the benchmark for mainland stocks, also jumped more than 3% on Friday. The optimism spread to currency markets, with the offshore yuan rising more than 1%. Up more than 10% for the week, Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index was set for the best gain since 2011.

Equities resumed gains on Friday after falling in the previous session as China’s top health body reiterated its commitment to the Covid Zero policy.

“There is still a tug of war going on between bulls and bears, bottom feeders and weary investors,” said Justin Tang, head of Asian research at United First Partners. “It will continue in the short term until we get a clearer idea whether there will be more pro-market policies under the new leadership.”

READ: Key Meetings to Offer Clues on China’s Economic Path Forward

–With assistance from Abhishek Vishnoi.

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