China’s blue chip shares were poised for a sixth day of decline on Monday, as investor fears over tightening regulations deepened, cancelling out the impact of still-solid growth in the country’s exports. The insurance regulator said on Sunday that a sound regulatory system for companies should be established and supervision strengthened over the shareholder ownership structure and the authenticity of their funds.
The China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) said loopholes should be plugged, and in its latest bid to curb “aggressive” insurance money, it barred Anbang Life Insurance, a unit of Chinese conglomerate Anbang Group, from applying to issue new products for three months. Investors are concerned that increased regulatory efforts to ward off systemic risks to help maintain financial security would hurt economic growth.
The CSI300 index fell 0.7 percent, to 3,360.27 points at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.6 percent, to 3,083.43 points. China’s April trade data, though missing forecasts, showed solid growth continuing after a surprisingly robust first quarter, but the pace is seen tapering off as Beijing turns the screws on debt risks and a hot property sector.
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“The economy is turning a bit more than people anticipated,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, an economist at Capital Economics in Singapore, adding that April’s data could surprise on the downside, similar to recent PMI surveys. China’s central bank has cautiously shifted to a tightening policy bias in recent months after years of ultra-loose settings led to an explosive build-up of debt, forcing the authorities to take steps to defuse bubbles.
The tightening has spilled into corporate China, which is facing a credit crunch over the coming months as a shrinking domestic bond market and pressure on banks to clean up leave firms grappling to refinance $130 billion of debt that comes due this year, and $248 billion more in 2018.
Chinese property developers are on the hunt for onshore or offshore funding alternatives in anticipation of further government measures to rein in soaring house prices. The sharp correction in the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index since April 10 was mainly driven by tightening financial regulations, Xun Yugen, an analyst with Haitong Securities, wrote in a note.
Sectors fell across the board, led by infrastructure , and real estate stocks. In Hong Kong, stocks followed other Asian markets higher, on investor relief after centrist Emmanuel Macron comfortably won the French presidential election. The Hang Seng index added 0.4 percent, to 24,562.06 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 0.6 percent, to 9,984.18.
(Reporting by Luoyan Liu and John Ruwitch; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)