Last war in Ukraine: Official Chinese media supports Russian claims about US bioweapons

Stocks in China fell on signs that sweeping lockdowns could become commonplace again for the world’s second-biggest economy, while oil benchmarks fell on signs Russia might be ready to start more serious negotiations with Ukraine.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 2.5 percent and China’s CSI 300 index of Shanghai- and Shenzhen-listed stocks fell 1.2 percent after all 17 million Shenzhen residents went into lockdown to stem a surge in cases to contain the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

Shenzhen’s lockdown followed similar measures in Changchun, a city of 9 million in northeast China, and cases also rose in Shanghai and a number of other major cities.

China reported more than 1,800 cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, the most daily cases in two years, as authorities struggled to contain the country’s biggest coronavirus outbreak since the pandemic first began in Wuhan in early 2020.

“If the lockdown is extended, China’s economic growth will be severely impacted,” said Raymond Yeung, chief economist for Greater China at ANZ.

Yeung said that “this time, half of China’s GDP and population will be affected,” and that a week-long lockdown of the affected region could shave about 0.1 percentage point off the country’s economic growth this year.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s Topix rose 0.9 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.1 percent after showing tentative signs of movement in Ukraine-Russia talks. Mykhailo Polodnyak, an adviser to Zelenskyi, said the Russian negotiators “would no longer make ultimatums, but would listen carefully to our proposals”.

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