Asian stock markets declined Monday on worries that the Chinese government will tighten measures to control rising property prices.
The Chinese Shanghai Composite declined 0.38 percent or 7.93 points to 2106.96 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.06 percent or 11.80 points to 20104.27, while the South Korean KOSPI Composite ended flat.
Data released by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that property prices in China rose for the second month in July, raising concerns that Beijing will impose a fresh set of curbs on the sector including an expansion of the property tax pilot to more cities to control housing inflation. New home prices rose in 50 of the 70 major cities in July on a monthly basis, up from 25 of the 70 major cities in June.
“It's the case of the Monday blues. Mainland investors are definitely more sensitive to the housing prices, although I think the latest monthly increase is more an effect of interest rate cuts,” Jackson Wong, vice-president for equity sales at Tanrich Securities, told Reuters.
Property developers’ shares declined in China on the concern that the Chinese government will refrain from conducting further policy easing. Poly Real Estate Group Co Ltd. plunged 3 percent and China Vanke Co Ltd. declined 1.28 percent.
In Hong Kong, the Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd declined 1.50 percent and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. slipped 0.80 percent, while China Pacific Insurance Group fell 1.39 percent.
Japanese stocks ended on a positive note, led by gains from exporter companies’ shares as the yen declined against its major counterparts. Benchmark Nikkei gained 0.09 percent or 8.66 points to 9171.16. The Pioneer Corp. gained 2.71 percent and Canon Inc gained 0.43 percent, while Panasonic Corp. rose 0.51 percent.
JX Holdings Inc plunged 1.95 percent after the company stock was downgraded to a “neutral” rating from “outperform” by MUFJ Morgan Stanley.
Meanwhile, the slowdown in the U.S. has not been steep enough to guarantee the announcement of a further stimulus this year by the Fed. The recent economic data, including Friday’s consumer confidence, also dampened any hopes of another round of monetary easing from the Federal Reserve.