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Hong Kong shares retreat from 32-month high on policy tightening worries

* HK->Shanghai Connect daily quota used 8.4%, Shanghai->HK daily quota used 8.8%

* HSI -1.6%, HSCE -1.5%, CSI300 -0.7%

* FTSE China A50 -0.9%

SHANGHAI, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks retreated from a 32-month high to close lower on Thursday, snapping a seven-day winning streak, as signs of policy tightening dampened risk appetite.

** The Hang Seng index hit a 32-month high earlier in the session, before closing 1.6% lower at 30,595.27 points, while the China Enterprises Index lost 1.5% to 12,041.53 points.

** Among sectors, the Hang Seng tech index dropped 3.2%, while the Hang Seng industrials index and the Hang Seng healthcare index shed 3.7% each.

** The People’s Bank of China injected another 20 billion yuan ($3.09 billion) on Thursday via reverse repos, while 280 billion yuan worth of a similar liquidity tool was set to expire on the same day.

** “We believe that several recent developments during the Chinese New Year have made monetary policy tightening more likely in the coming months,” Zhiwei Zhang, chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management, noted in a report.

** Zhang said the developments included a potential larger-than-expected U.S. fiscal stimulus, the success in the fight against the pandemic, and positive high-frequency data on economic activities during the holiday.

** Bucking the retreat, mainland investors continued their buying spree, purchasing HK$15 billion worth of Hong Kong stocks on Thursday via the Stock Connect, which reopened after the Chinese Lunar New year.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.25%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed 0.19% weaker.

** The yuan was quoted at 6.471 per U.S. dollar at 0828 GMT, 0.21% weaker than the previous close of 6.4576.

** At close, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 34.70% over Hong Kong-listed H-shares.

($1 = 6.4691 Chinese yuan)

Reporting by the Shanghai Newsroom, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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