Korea, Japan Reopening Stocks Gain on End of China’s Quarantine

(Bloomberg) — Travel and consumer stocks in Asia advanced along with many of the region’s currencies, as traders bet popular destinations for Chinese tourists will benefit from Beijing’s move to end quarantine for travelers.

Taiwan’s Phoenix Tours International Inc. climbed as much as 10% while Korea’s Lotte Tour Development Co. rose 7.7%. Among makers of cosmetics popular with Chinese consumers, Shiseido Co. jumped 7.1% in Tokyo and Amorepacific Corp. gained 6.4% in Seoul.

People arriving in China as of Jan. 8 will no longer be quarantined, though they will still need to submit negative Covid test results, health officials said Monday. That may lead to a resurgence in visits by Chinese tourists, who made up about a third of arrivals in Japan and South Korea in 2019 before the Covid pandemic.

“The Chinese government is taking a step for complete reopening and this move could refuel momentum for Korean stocks related to Chinese consumption such as cosmetics, leisure and travel firms,” Han Jiyoung, a strategist at Kiwoom Securities Co., wrote in a note.

Chinese stocks also advanced, with the CSI 300 Index up as much as 0.9%. Among currencies, the Korean won gained 0.7% to 1,265.71 per dollar while the Thai baht rose 0.3% to 34.615 as of 10:42 a.m. in Hong Kong. Association of Thai Travel Agents estimates that 3-5 million Chinese tourists will visit Thailand in 2023, the Bangkok Post reported.

“China easing quarantine rules and economic support measures lifted most Asia ex-Japan currencies with the Korean won and Thai baht outperforming on growth optimism,” said Christopher Wong, a currency strategist at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. in Singapore.

Department-store Takashimaya Co. provided a further lift for Japanese reopening stocks after it separately raised its full-year profit outlook. Its stock climbed as much as 9.4% while its peer Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd. rose 8.2% to the highest level since February 2016.

Still, some Chinese reopening stocks fell despite the news as a continued increase in Covid cases chilled sentiment. 

Some personal protective equipment stocks are rising on expectations that Covid cases will continue to surge as China reopens. Shares of Top Glove Bhd., a star performer in the early days of the pandemic, jumped as much as 9.8% in Malaysia. 

“I think it is a little early to be certain that the reopening will go according to the planned timeline, just because the infection situation does not look clear yet, but the inbound tourism names have been performing slightly better recently and it makes sense that more buying interest would come,” said Mio Kato, an analyst at LightStream Research.

–With assistance from David Finnerty.

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.


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