Hong Kong stocks extend rally past 5% after China holds Covid briefing

China says it is ‘closely watching’ virus developments when asked about shift in policy

Chinese health authorities said that officials are “closely watching” the developments of Covid when asked if protests in the region would lead to shifts in its zero-Covid policy.

“China has been following and closely watching the virus as it evolves and mutates,” officials said, according to a translation of Tuesday’s briefing.

– Christine Wang, Evelyn Cheng

China announces measures to boost elderly vaccination

China’s health authorities released a plan to boost elderly vaccination, according to a notice on the National Health Commission’s website.

Hong Kong-listed shares of CanSino Biologics extended gains in the afternoon session and rose as much as 18% shortly after the announcement was posted.

The notice said authorities should use multiple data points to accurately identify target groups for vaccination for the elderly.

Pinpoint Asset Management expects a positive message to be delivered at China Covid briefing

China's government didn't take the Covid protests in a negative way, economist says

China’s state council is expected to deliver a positive message at the upcoming Covid press conference, but the announcement will not include a “milestone,” said Pinpoint Asset Management’s President Zhiwei Zhang.

“I think the message would be positive actually … there are quite many positive signals coming from the central and local governments,” said Zhang, who cited examples such as the government allowing residential compounds in Beijing to be opened.

However, he cautioned that the reopening will be a “long process” all the way leading up to March next year, and said the “medical system may not be able to support the transition” especially for the immediate winter season. 

— Lee Ying Shan

Currency check: Asia-Pacific currencies strengthen sharply, led by the Chinese yuan

Both the onshore and offshore Chinese yuan strengthened against the dollar in Asia’s session ahead of a press conference on Covid measures.

The greenback lost 1.09% against the offshore yuan and 0.65% against the onshore yuan, with both trading around 7.16-levels. The offshore yuan traded near 7.24 per dollar before it strengthened sharply.

Other Asia-Pacific currencies also gained against the dollar. The Australian dollar was up at $0.6701 after jumping from around $0.66-levels, and the Korean won was at 1,326.79 per dollar compared with around 1,340 earlier on Tuesday.

— Abigail Ng

Chinese indexes pop ahead of Covid briefing

Indexes in China jumped more than 2% as investors closely watched for developments in the nation’s zero-Covid policy after seeing losses in the previous session.

China’s CSI 300 index rose 2.97% in the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite climbed 2.2%. The Shenzhen Component Index gained 2.172%.

Local media reported that the Chinese State Council will hold a press conference on Covid measures at 3 p.m. local time, or 2 a.m. ET.

The nation saw a drop in the number of daily infections for the first time in more than a week.

– Evelyn Cheng, Jihye Lee

China’s Xi will likely continue to be ‘very pragmatic,’ including on Covid policy, strategist says

Chinese President Xi Jinping has been realistic and practical on Covid, domestic real estate issues and politics since the end of the Communist Party of China’s National Congress, said Andy Rothman, an investment strategist at Matthews Asia.

“He’s been pragmatic on Covid policy, announcing a change in direction more towards living with Covid rather than Covid zero,” he said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” when asked about how the government might respond to recent unrest in parts of China.

“He’s been pragmatic on property, he’s been very pragmatic on dealing with Joe Biden, so I expect that to continue,” Rothman said.

He added that he views the unrests related to the prolonged zero-Covid policies as largely in line with what is expected to come from the Chinese government.

“What the protesters seem to be asking for, are things Xi Jinping has already said he wants to deliver,” he said. “He wants to deliver a path out of zero tolerance for Covid, towards living with Covid like all the rest of the world.”

Rothman added that the latest announcements to ease quarantine measures for international travelers suggests that delivering shifts from the zero-Covid policy will be “relatively easier.”

“He’s not backing down, [or] giving in under pressure, he’s just delivering, on a more accelerated pace, what he’s already told these students that he wants to give them,” he said.

— Abigail Ng

Oil prices jump more than a dollar ahead of China briefing

Oil prices climbed ahead of a press conference which will be held by China’s State Council, as investors continue to monitor developments – paring some losses seen on Monday, when it reached the lowest levels in almost a year.

The West Texas…

Read More: Hong Kong stocks extend rally past 5% after China holds Covid briefing

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