Local residents wearing special protective equipment (PPE) line up to enter a hotel for medical monitoring and detention in Zhengzhou City, Nov. 1, 2022.
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BEIJING – Chinese stocks have rallied this week as investors expect Beijing will soon ease its strict Covid policy.
of Shanghai mix He gained 5% during the week. of Hang Seng Index Over the past two weeks, it has rallied from 13-year lows for a weekly gain of more than 8%.
The Chinese government has yet to announce any official policy changes. Covid-related travel restrictions, routine virus testing requirements and other measures generally remain as strict as possible.
However, Friday’s accelerated rally in stocks followed several unconfirmed rumors about the upcoming change in the Covid policy.
“The rally we saw this morning was mainly fueled by the prospect of an earlier-than-expected opening,” Zhiwei Zhang, president and chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management, said Friday on CNBC’s “Capital Connection.”
Zhang pointed to a closed-door speech by the chief scientist of China’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday morning that suggested a move away from the zero-covid policy could happen soon.
CNBC could not verify the comments made in the speech. The Centers for Disease Control and the National Health Commission did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Chinese financial media Kalyan Press reported that on Saturday afternoon, officials will hold a press conference at the National Health Commission building on virus control and prevention measures.
The restrictions and ongoing Covid-19 outbreaks have been a drag on China’s economy, which grew by just 3 percent in the three quarters a year ago. Economists have cut their growth forecasts for next year amid expectations that the ban will continue, while the rest of the world has shifted to a “living with the vivid” approach.
On Monday, mainland China lifted stricter Covid restrictions due to the Mid-September Festival, a national holiday in early October and the 20th National Congress of the ruling Chinese Communist Party in late October.
This week, some official Covid statements included prominent statements about how the virus is “self-limiting” and controllable.
However, China’s Communist Party newspaper, the People’s Daily, said isolation is still important.
The National Health Commission has also confirmed that it has officially adopted the so-called flexible zero-covid policy.
There are no details at any time
“The clearest signal has been given,” said chief economist and chief Bruce Pang. In the near future, China will follow its zero-covid stance, one of the strictest anti-virus policies in the world, with its unbending commitment and zero-tolerance. Research for Greater China by JLL.
But in the long term, China is expected to continue to make its response more scientific and targeted, with a softer policy stance, flexible measures and gradual easing.[r] restrictions,” he said.
Pang does not expect the directive to fall until early June 2023.
Market rumors this week did not provide new details on the timing of any changes.
Pinpoint’s Zhang added that helping the stock rally on Friday was a midday Bloomberg report, citing sources that suggested US-listed Chinese stocks such as Alibaba may remain on US exchanges.
The China Securities Regulatory Commission, the Ministry of Finance and the US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
— CNBC’s Sam Vadas and Abigail Ng contributed to this report.