Chinese stocks in Monday mayhem, plunge over 8 percent

Beijing/Mumbai, Aug 24 (IANS) Chinese stocks crashed on Monday, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index down 8.45 percent to close at 3,211.2 points. The Shenzhen Component Index also shed 7.27 percent to end at 10,983.42 points.

The outstanding balance for margin trading at Shanghai Stock Exchange dropped for a fourth day by 2.4 percent to 848.6 billion yuan as of Friday, according to data available with the bourse.

The crash was widespread and the Hong Kong stocks also dived for the 7th consecutive trading session on Monday. The benchmark Hang Seng Index dropped 1,158.05 points, or 5.17 percent, to close at 21,251.57 points. It traded between 21,136.48 and 21,679.45.

But the turnover in the Hong Kong bourse totalled 138.97 billion HK dollars ($17.93 bn), up from 118.28 billion HK dollars the previous trading day, Xinhua news agency reported.

All four sub-indices lost ground, with the commerce and industry sub-index falling the most by 5.48 percent, followed by the properties down 5.24 percent, the finance 5.12 percent and the utilities 2.93 percent.

The blue-chips led the decline.

Banking giant HSBC, which accounts for the largest weighting of the Hang Seng Index, lost 4.31 percent at 62.1 HK dollars, while its local unit Hang Seng Bank retreated 4.18 percent at 133 HK dollars. Local bourse operator HKEX went down 6.99 percent at 178.3 HK dollars.

Local developers Hang Lung Properties dropped 5.46 percent at 17.3 HK dollars. SHK Properties, another major developer, fell 6.06 percent at 97.7 HK dollars, and Cheung Kong Holding, a realty major controlled by billionaire Li Ka-shing, retreated 4.04 percent at 98.55 HK dollars.

The China Construction Bank, the country’s second largest bank accounting for the 3rd largest weight in Hang Seng, closed 4.66 percent lower at 5.52 HK dollars. ICBC, the world’s largest bank by market value, ended at 4.7 HK dollars, down 4.67 percent. Bank of China fell 4.39 percent at 3.7 HK dollars.

Energy shares were broadly lower. PetroChina, the country’s largest oil and gas producer, fell 4.22 percent to 6.35 HK dollars. Sinopec, the nation’s top oil refiner, lost 3.02 percent to end at 5.14 HK dollars.

The ChiNext Index, which tracks China’s NASDAQ-style board of growth enterprises, fell 8.05 percent to close at 2,153.52 points. Shares in all sectors tumbled more than eight percent. The banking and mining industries lost the least, but still dropped more than 8.3 percent.

The slump came despite the Chinese government’s decision on Sunday to allow pension funds to invest in the stock market. These pension funds, with assets around $325 billion, were allowed to place up to 30% of their net assets in stocks, equity funds and balanced funds.

The massive fall in the Chinese stock market comes from the disappointment that Beijing did not announce expected policy support over the weekend after the country’s main market indexes shed 11 percent last week, brokerage Sharekhan said.

In other overseas markets, the stocks in Europe also opened lower in early tradeon Monday, also over worries that the top economy in Asia was slowing faster than previously anticipated. Key indices in Britain, France and Germany were all down between 2-2.75 percent.

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