Australia Leads Gains as Asia-Pacific Markets Move Higher

Hong Kong-listed shares of China Evergrande Group plunged in a mixed trading day for Asia-Pacific markets on Friday.

By the Friday market close in Hong Kong, shares of China Evergrande Group listed in the city fell 9.46%. The move came after reports the property developer is seeking government support to approve a restructuring plan and warned of an impending cash crunch.

For its part, Evergrande said in a Thursday release: “There are rumors circulating on the Internet about the reorganisation of Hengda Real Estate. The relevant documents and pictures are fabricated and are pure defamation, causing serious damage to the Company’s reputation. The Company strongly condemns such acts and has reported the case to the public security authorities.”

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was down 0.32% to close at 23,235.42. Mainland Chinese stocks were also lower on the day, with the Shanghai composite down 0.12% to about 3,219.42 while the Shenzhen component was below the flatline at around 12,814.17.

Major Australia bank stocks surge

Meanwhile, stocks of major Australian banks jumped on Friday.

Shares of the “Big Four” banks helped lift the broader S&P/ASX 200 index higher by 1.51% on the day to 5,964.90. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group surged 6.28%, Commonwealth Bank of Australia jumped 3.01%, Westpac soared 7.39% and National Australia Bank rose 6.86%.

The moves came after authorities announced changes to simplify credit access for consumers and small businesses.

“Our current regulatory framework with respect to lending is not fit for purpose,” Australian Treasurer, Josh Frydenburg, told reporters. “It’s become overly prescriptive, it’s become increasingly costly, it’s become increasingly complex and responsible lending has become restrictive lending.”

“We need our banks to be extending credit, we need the regulation to be streamlined, we need customers to be able to access credit,” Frydenburg said.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.51% to close at 23,204.62 while the Topix index added 0.48% to end its trading day at 1,634.23. South Korea’s Kospi also advanced 0.27% to 2,278.79.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index edged 0.48% higher.

Read more at CNBC

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