The Hang Seng index fell 5.1% in morning trading, while the CSI 300 fell 2% © Jérôme Favre/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Stocks listed in Hong Kong and China fell sharply on Monday as the country’s late release of gross domestic product data sent jitters to markets.

The Hang Seng Index fell 5.1% in morning trading, while the CSI 300 index of stocks listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen fell 2%.

The declines followed the unexpected release of China’s GDP figures and other economic data, which beat expectations with a 3.9% expansion but still recorded much slower growth than expected. the country has become accustomed to over the past decades.

The nervousness was heightened by the delay in releasing the data, which was originally scheduled for last Tuesday. The figures were released with little warning after the party’s landmark 20th conference in China, in which leader Xi Jinping secured an unprecedented third term in the country’s most important political roles.

Xi showed little willingness to change course from his strict zero-Covid policy at the conference. The policy, which aims to stamp out virus cases with strict lockdowns, has hammered China’s growth prospects this year.

“It’s panic selling,” said Dickie Wong, head of research at Kingston Securities in Hong Kong. “Obviously, investors are just not confident about the future of the Chinese economy.”

In markets elsewhere, Japan’s Topix rose 0.4% and South Korea’s Kospi 0.9%. Those moves followed strong gains in the U.S. on Friday, where the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite both gained more than 2% after a report that the Federal Reserve may slow the pace of its interest rate hikes to from December.

Oil prices fell after early gains, with international benchmark Brent down 0.5% to trade at $93.03 a barrel and US marker West Texas Intermediate down the same margin to trade at $93.03 a barrel. reach $84.60.