[HONG KONG] Hong Kong shares fell on Wednesday, in line with most regional markets hurt by declining commodity prices and after the city's chief executive said the government will suspend an immigrant investor programme.
The Hang Seng index fell 0.4 per cent, to 24,112.60 points, while the China Enterprises Index lost 0.5 per cent, to 12,008.37 points.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said in his annual policy address the capital investment entrant scheme will be suspended, effective on Thursday.
Sam Chi Yung, strategist at Delta Asia Financial Group, said the programme is an important capital source for Hong Kong fund managers as it has attracted many Chinese to invest at least HK$10 million(US$1.29 million) in the city's markets.
"The suspension will shut funds out of the markets and further dampen purchasing power," said Mr Sam.
Among the most actively traded stocks on Hong Kong's main board were Wai Yuen Tong Medicine Holdings, up 18.6 per cent at HK$0.10 Yat Sing Holdings Ltd, unchanged at HK$0.67 and China National Culture Group, down 0.7 per cent at HK$0.14.
Chinese investment flowing from Shanghai into Hong Kong through the mutual market access pilot programme took up 0.68 billion yuan (US$109.74 million) of the 10.5 billion yuan daily quota.
Total trading volume of companies included in the HSI index was 1.5 billion shares.