Shares of Chinese Frozen Food Firms Jump as Covid Derails Lunar New Year Plans

(Bloomberg) — Frozen food is all the rage in China as home-cooked meals during the coming Lunar New Year holiday seems a safer bet than heading out to celebrate as Covid- 19 cases increase.

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Frozen seafood processor Zhanjiang Guolian Aquatic Products Co. climbed by the 20% limit in Shenzhen for a third-straight day Friday, while hot-pot ingredient and frozen meat suppliers Haixin Foods Co. and Shandong Delisi Food Co. each jumped 10% for a third day. Another maker of pre-prepared meals, Jinling Hotel Corp, has surged 36% this week.

The group’s performance is an outlier in an otherwise bearish market. The benchmark CSI 300 Index is set to close at its lowest level since November 2020, and all sub gauges except energy are in the red so far this year.

This rare bright corner comes as China reported finding 143 new local Covid cases across five provinces on Thursday, with local governments including Shanghai and Beijing advising against traveling outside the cities during the seven-day festival that starts on Jan. 31.

Still, the appetite for the niche group of food firms hasn’t been sufficient to lift sentiment for other consumer shares, like those making the liquor baijiu. The CSI consumer staples index is down 3.8% this week, poised for its lowest close in two months, with Kweichow Moutai Co. and Wuliangye Yibin Co. each sliding by at least 3.5%.

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