Shares of Bellwether China fell again in the United States today after wide declines in share prices in the country on Thursday, amid concerns about the impact of continued ‘zero-Covid’ policies country on economic growth and corporate profits.
The Shanghai Stock Exchange’s main index fell 2.26% on Thursday to 3,079.81. It has lost 11% over the past month and is approaching a two-year low. In the US today, major Chinese internet stocks fell: Alibaba lost 3.4% to $85.99; Pinduoduo plunged more dramatically 6.9% to $34.75 and lost almost three-quarters of its value over the past year.
Investors who were hoping for a new Covid or President Xi Jinping’s economic policies in a speech at a high-level Chinese economic conference yesterday didn’t get it. His presentation did not appear to suggest a change in Covid policy and also offered no compromise on Beijing’s support for Russia which has added to tensions in China’s relations with Washington following the invasion of China. Ukraine via Moscow. Xi spoke after the IMF earlier this week cut its economic growth forecast for China this year to 4.4% from 4.8% on the fallout from the pandemic.
China had 19,458 new Covid cases yesterday, mostly in Shanghai. Slices of the once bustling commercial and financial hub have fallen silent amid lockdowns affecting its 26 million people.
Real estate stocks already hammered by oversupply and debt problems remained weak. In U.S. trading, Beijing-headquartered KE Holdings, one of the world’s largest real estate brokerage chains, plunged 7.8% to $11.87 and lost 78% last year.
Travel stocks were also affected. Shanghai-based Huazhu, a hotel network operator chaired by Chinese billionaire Ji Qi, fell 9.6% to $29.14 in New York. The small chain GreenTree Hospitality, also based in Shanghai, lost 7.3% to 4.18 dollars in New York. Shanghai Jin Jiang International Hotels fell 4% to 52.55 yuan on the Shanghai Stock Exchange yesterday. Among airlines, China Eastern fell 3.6% on the New York Stock Exchange to $15.97.
Although a decline in stocks pushed down the number of billionaires in China from a year earlier, the mainland still ranked No. 2 with 539 members of the Forbes 2022 billionaires list released earlier this month- this. We used stock prices and exchange rates as of March 11, 2022 to calculate these net values; further declines in Chinese stock prices have thinned the country’s ranks since the listing was released. Among those listed to fall below the $1 billion threshold, Zhong Baoshan, chairman of solar cell maker LONGi Green Energy, saw his fortune drop to $927 million yesterday, from $1.1 billion on the list. The fortune of newcomer Xu Gang, chairman of titanium dioxide pigments Lomon Billions Group, slipped to $985 million from around $1.3 billion on the listing.
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