The surge happened as the Communist Party’s No. 3 official arrived in the the city. Zhang Dejiang, the People’s Daily said, would bring “confidence and hope” to a city facing a contracting economy. Mainland institutions appeared to be behind the purchases, according to Reorient Financial Markets Ltd.

“The move was very unusual and looked like Chinese institutions buying,” said Steve Wang, chief China economist at Reorient Financial Markets Ltd. in Hong Kong. “It coincided with Zhang Dejiang’s Hong Kong trip. Despite all the roads being sealed by police officers, Zhang’s visit might look slightly more cheerful with stocks rising.”

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China’s authorities have been known to intervene in mainland markets before key national events, including this year’s National People’s Congress and August’s military parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of victory over Japan during World War II. Zhang is the most senior mainland official to visit Hong Kong since then-President Hu Jintao in 2012 and his tour comes amid increasing calls for the city’s autonomy from Chinese rule. Read more