Hang Seng index drops more than 3% as Evergrande shares plunge 10%, other property stocks fall

Hang Seng index drops more than 3% as Evergrande shares plunge 10%, other property stocks fall

SINGAPORE — Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index led losses among Asia-Pacific markets in Monday trade, with shares of embattled Chinese developer China Evergrande Group continuing to drop.

The Hang Seng index dropped 3.3% to close at 23,099.14. Shares of China Evergrande Group in the city plummeted 10.24%, after falling as much as 17% earlier.

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The Hang Seng Properties index dropped to a 52-week low, falling 6.69% on the day.

Shares of insurers listed in the city also plunged. AIA dropped 4.94% while Ping An Insurance fell 5.78%.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia fell 2.1% on the day to 7,248.20, with shares of major miners declining: Rio Tinto dropped 3.6%, Fortescue Metals Group declined 3.73% while BHP slipped 4.16%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.6%.

Markets in mainland China, Japan and South Korea were closed on Monday for holidays.

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Over on Wall Street, stocks have struggled in the seasonally weak month of September, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average seeing three straight weeks of losses — its first in 2021.

Investor focus for the week will likely be on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s upcoming September meeting for clues on the central bank’s tapering of its easy monetary policy.

Oil falls 1%

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures slipping 1.01% to $74.58 per barrel. U.S. crude futures shed 1.24% to $71.08 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.368 after a recent jump from below 93.

The Japanese yen was at 109.71 per dollar, having weakened last week from below 109.6 against the greenback. The Australian dollar traded at $0.7239, following its slip from above $0.736 last week.