China stocks fell the most in seven weeks on Monday while Hong Kong shares saw their biggest decline in one month, as a rise in domestic cases of COVID-19 dented sentiment, while concerns over policymakers exiting crisis-mode monetary easing also weighed.
** The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 1.7% to 4,354.62, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 1.3% to 3,313.58 points.
** The Hang Seng index slumped 2.8% to 21,124.20, while the China Enterprises Index lost 3.1% to 7,320.91 points.
** Many Chinese cities are adopting fresh curbs, from business halts to lockdowns, to rein in new infections, with Shanghai bracing for another mass testing campaign after detecting the BA.5 Omicron subvariant.
** China's central bank injected a minimal 3 billion yuan ($447.41 million) via open market operations for a sixth straight day since last week, raising market suspicion that policymakers are gradually exiting crisis-mode monetary easing delivered during COVID-19 lockdowns.
** China can consider further deficit spending by the central and local governments, if needed, to finance support for small businesses, a former finance minister said on Saturday.
** Market focus has shifted from economic recovery expectations to the fundamentals, with economic indicators including total social financing, industrial output and the April-June gross domestic product numbers due this week in focus, analysts say.
** Energy stocks lost 3.5%, non-ferrous metal tumbled 3.7%, while automobiles plunged 4%.
** New energy stocks lost 3%, with Tianqi Lithium Corp and Chengxin Lithium Group down roughly 9% each.
** Macau shut all its casinos for the first time in more than two years on Monday, sending shares in gaming firms tumbling as authorities struggle to contain the worst COVID-19 outbreak yet in the world's biggest gambling hub.
** Tech giants listed in Hong Kong slumped 3.9% as media reported that sticking points in U.S.-China talks on delisting stocks remain, with index heavyweights Alibaba and Meituan down more than 5% each.
** Mainland property developers listed in Hong Kong plunged more than 5% amid debt woes in the sector.
($1 = 6.7053 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)