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Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index surges 9% as Tencent, Alibaba jump more than 23%

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SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were higher in Wednesday trade, as Chinese stocks saw a strong rebound following recent heavy losses.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 7.47% in afternoon trade, with shares of Chinese tech giant Tencent surging 20.13% while life insurer AIA climbed 3.31%.

Other Chinese tech stocks in Hong Kong also saw big gains, with Alibaba soaring 18.18% and NetEase rising 17.46%. The Hang Seng Tech index jumped 17.27%.

Chinese tech stocks have been under pressure in recent days amid multiple concerns, including a Wall Street Journal report that Tencent could face a record fine for violating anti-money laundering rules.

Fears of U.S.-listed Chinese firms being delisted stateside also recently resurfaced after the Securities and Exchange Commission identified five U.S.-listed American depositary receipts of Chinese companies that failed to comply with the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, further weighing on investor sentiment.

On Tuesday, the Hang Seng had tumbled nearly 6% to close at its lowest since Feb. 2016.

Mainland Chinese stocks also saw robust gains as the Shanghai composite climbed 3.26% and the Shenzhen component soared 3.793%.

The sharp reversal comes as investors continue to monitor the pandemic situation in the country, with China grappling with its most severe Covid outbreak since the height of the pandemic in 2020, with major cities scrambling to limit business activity.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 climbed 1.74% while the Topix index gained 1.62%. South Korea’s Kospi advanced 1.38%.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.1%. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 3.58% higher.

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours of Wednesday, after tumbling on Tuesday and continuing its recent fall.

International benchmark Brent crude futures gained 2.34% to $102.25 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also rose, climbing 1.79% to $98.17 per barrel.

Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 599.10 points, or 1.82%, to 33,544.34. The S&P 500 index climbed 2.14% to 4,262.45 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite surged 2.92% to 12,948.62.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is set to announce its latest interest rate decision Wednesday stateside. The central bank is widely expected to raise rates by a quarter point, its first hike since 2018.

Meanwhile, the Russian state is due to pay $117 million in interest on two sovereign eurobonds on Wednesday, the first of four payment dates to creditors in March alone as the country faces the prospect of defaulting on its debt. That comes after international sanctions on Russia’s central bank have blocked off a substantial portion of the country’s foreign exchange reserves following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 98.824 — above levels below 98 seen last week.

The Japanese yen traded at 118.28 per dollar, still weaker as compared with levels below 116.1 seen against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7222 after recently slipping from above $0.72.

— CNBC’s Elliot Smith contributed to this report.

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