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Hong Kong stocks end 0.31% lower

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Hong Kong stocks closed down 0.31 percent Thursday after a series of economic forecasts highlighted global growth concerns and a sluggish recovery in China.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index fell 70.62 points to 22,484.31 on turnover of HK$67.92 billion ($8.75 billion).

Sentiment was downbeat after the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) trimmed its world economic growth forecast for 2013 to 3.1 percent from 3.4 percent.

The International Monetary Fund also cut its 2013 growth forecast for China this week to "around 7.75 percent" from 8.0 percent, citing a sluggish global recovery which hurt exports.

Concerns about a possible tapering of US monetary easing also weighed on sentiment.

Chinese airlines were among the top losers as concerns mounted that the regulator's decision to lift a years-long ban against new independent carriers would increase competition.

Guangzhou-based China Southern fell 3.4 percent to HK$3.73, Chinese flag carrier Air China was down 3.3 percent at HK$6.49, and smaller rival China Eastern was 2.9 percent lower at HK$2.69.

The city's major gas distributor HK & China Gas was 3.7 percent lower at HK$22.00 while Power Assets retreated 3.7 percent to HK$70.50.

Chinese stocks closed down 0.27 percent. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index slid 6.27 points to 2,317.75 on turnover of 103.5 billion yuan ($16.9 billion).

Home appliance manufacturers were hit by reports that the government will stop subsidising buyers of some energy-efficient models from June 1.

Jiangsu Chunlan Refrigerating Equipment lost 3.32 percent to 4.95 yuan while Qingdao Haier fell 1.24 percent to 12.77 yuan.

Steel makers and cement producers were pushed lower, with Changjiang & Jinggong Steel Building losing 2.36 percent to 8.27 yuan while Fushun Special Steel fell 2.23 percent to 5.69 yuan.

Cement producer Zhejiang Jianfeng dropped 2.17 percent to 11.74 yuan while Anhui Conch Cement fell 1.78 percent to 17.06 yuan.

-- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this report --

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130530/hong-kong-stocks-end-031-lower-0