August 30, 2019 / 8:17 AM / 16 days ago

HK stocks post biggest monthly drop since May amid protests, trade war

* Hang Seng adds 0.1%, but marks biggest monthly loss in three

* U.S. tariffs coming, Trump says talks with China ongoing

* Prominent protesters arrested as city’s crisis deepens

* Home prices ease for 2nd consecutive month in July

HONG KONG, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares closed slightly higher on Friday but posted their biggest monthly drop since May as a bruising Sino-U.S. trade war and the city’s deepening political crisis knocked down the market. ** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was up 0.1% at 25,724.73, shedding 1.7% for the week. It fell 7.4% this month, its biggest fall since May. ** The Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose 0.9% on Friday, declining 1.1% this week. It ended the month 5.5% lower. ** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares rose 3.1%, while the IT sector gained 0.1%, the financial sector ended 0.1% higher and the property sector lost 1.2%. ** Hong Kong private home prices fell for the second straight month in July, according to government data released on Friday, amid continued pressure on the local economy from protests and the U.S.-China trade war. ** The United States said this week that on Sept. 1 it would begin collecting a 15% tariff on a portion of the list that contains over $125 billion of targeted goods from China. ** Ahead of the deadline, Washington and Beijing indicated they would resume trade talks, with Trump saying some discussions were taking place and that more are scheduled. ** China’s commerce ministry also said a September round of meetings was being discussed by the two super powers, but said it was important for Washington to cancel a tariff increase. ** Leading pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong were arrested on Friday on suspicion of organising illegal protests as authorities intensify a clampdown on unrest that has plunged the city into its biggest political crisis in more than two decades. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 1%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 1.2%. ** About 2.02 billion Hang Seng index shares were traded. The volume traded in the previous trading session was 1.79 billion. (Reporting by Noah Sin; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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