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China In-Focus — Stocks down; Service activity quickens in July; Taiwan asks to avoid Chinese drill areas

RIYADH: Mainland China’s shares extended losses on Wednesday after falling sharply in the previous session, as cautious investors monitored developments around Sino-US tensions following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

China condemned the highest-level US visit to Taiwan in 25 years as a threat to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, responding with a flurry of military exercises, summoning the US ambassador in Beijing, and announcing the suspension of several agricultural imports from Taiwan.

At the market close, the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.7 percent at 3,163.67 points, its lowest close since May 30, and blue-chip CSI300 index lost 1 percent to 4,066.98.

In Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng Index edged up 0.4 percent at 19,767.09 at the close, while Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong climbed 0.52 percent.

China July services activity expands at quickest pace in 15 months

China’s services activity grew at the fastest rate in 15 months in July as easing COVID-19 curbs boosted consumer confidence, but foreign demand fell and companies cut staff for the seventh month in a row, a private-sector survey showed on Wednesday.

The Caixin services Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 55.5 in July, the fastest growth since April 2021, rising further from the robust reading of 54.5 in June.

The 50-point mark separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.

The reading contrasted somewhat with China’s official services PMI on Sunday which showed growth moderated, but both gauges still pointed to solid expansion in the hard-hit sector while the country’s manufacturers struggled.

Taiwan asks ships to find alternative routes, avoid Chinese drill areas

Taiwan port authorities on Wednesday asked ships to find alternative routes and avoid areas of China’s announced drills around the island, according to government notices.

Ships going in and out of the seven major harbors across Taiwan including Taipei Harbor should be aware of the drills from noon Aug. 4 to noon Aug. 7, notices by Taiwan’s Maritime and Port Bureau said.


(With input from Reuters)

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