China stocks eye best week in years on audit, reopening hopes

China stocks eye best week in years on audit, reopening hopes

Unsubstantiated social media posts flagging an aim to relax COVID-19 rules in March have also driven optimism all week and seemed to get new momentum on Friday from the appearance of Guang Zeng, former chief expert of epidemiology, at a Citi investor conference on the topic of China’s exit from zero-COVID.

“The optimism right now is basically a removal of certain types of uncertainties that have been lingering … but the outlook is really mixed,” said Peiqian Liu, China economist at NatWest Markets in Singapore.

Changes to COVID-19 policies have not been officially flagged. A foreign ministry spokesman said on Tuesday he was not aware of the situation when asked about rumours on social media that China was planning a reopening from strict COVID-19 curbs in March, which pushed Hong Kong and China stock higher.

An early conclusion to audit checks has not been confirmed by either Chinese or US officials and the Bloomberg report carried no comment from either side.

“I think that probably explains why Alibaba is up 20 per cent, not 80 per cent … but that can’t discount the optimism we see right now,” said Liu.

Alibaba shares were last up 13 per cent. shares also rose 13 per cent. The Hang Seng Tech index rose 8 per cent. Onshore the blue-chip index rose 3.3 per cent.

The yuan rose about 0.9 per cent to 7.2410 per dollar, despite broad dollar gains elsewhere.