China stocks drop in Asia amid credit fears
HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- Chinese stocks declined in Asia Friday amid concerns weak bank credit could hurt the nation's growth, while Hong Kong stocks staged a late rebound, tracking gains in Europe after strong German economic data.
The session was marked by choppy trading in regional markets amid lingering uncertainty over the European debt crisis.
The losses came worries that Chinese bank lending may also be slowing in another indication of cooling growth indicators. Bloomberg News reported Thursday that the nation's biggest banks may fall short of loan targets this year for the first time in at least seven years.
"Weak credit action bodes ill for short-term growth but also raises the odds of government pressure on banks to lend more," said Dariusz Kowalczyk, senior economist and strategist at Credit Agricole.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index (HSI) rose 0.3%, erasing losses as European stocks edged higher after better-than-expected confidence data out of Germany.
While most of the benchmarks ended the week with losses, Japan's Nikkei was notable for its eighth consecutive period of declines. Although down just 0.4% this week, the Nikkei is now 14.9% lower since the beginning of April.
Among the six benchmarks mentioned above, only South Korea's Kospi gained 2.3% during the week, while the Hang Seng Index turned in the worst performance, dropping 1.3%.
Chinese financial shares fared badly amid worries over credit growth. In Hong Kong, Industrial & Commerical
Regional firms with a high international exposure were also weaker amid the uncertain global climate.
Property plays advanced, with
Worries about the euro-zone and Chinese growth hurt many resource stocks in the region.
In Sydney, index heavyweight