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Asia shares take comfort in China property rally, investors eye protests

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Asian shares edged higher on Tuesday as Beijing’s latest move to support developers boosted the property sector, though it was still not clear what new damage public unrest over China’s zero-COVID policy might do to the economy.
Shares of Chinese property companies surged after the country’s securities regulator lifted a ban on equity refinancing for listed property firms.
That helped Chinese blue chips bounce 1.1%, while MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.7%.
Japan’s Nikkei lagged with a drop of 0.4%, while South Korea firmed 0.3%.
S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq futures both nudged up 0.1%. EUROSTOXX 50 futures lost 0.2% and FTSE futures 0.1%.
Markets were still nervous that the widening web of restrictions in China would lead to more public unrest and further undermine growth.
Analysts at Nomura said their index of lockdowns now showed the equivalent of 25% of China’s GDP was affected, compared to a previous peak of 21% last April.
“Although Shanghai-style full lockdowns may be avoided, partial lockdowns in a rising number of cities may be more costly than full lockdowns in just a couple of cities,” noted Nomura.
Underlining the far reaching impact of Beijing’s policies, Apple Inc shares had fallen 2.6% on reports COVID-19 restrictions would cause a sizable shortfall in production of iPhone pro units.

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