China’s main stock indexes were little changed on Monday morning as strength in financials and raw materials were offset by weakness in the real estate and brokerage sector, both of which suffered from tighter government regulations. The CSI300 index rose 0.1 percent, to 3,406.08 points by the lunch break, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.2 percent, to 3,083.11 points. The market has been hobbled over the past few weeks by fears of renewed economic slowdown and heavy-handed regulation aimed at curbing broad financial risks.
Think tank State Information Centre said in an article over the weekend that China’s economy will likely expand around 6.8 percent in the second quarter of 2017, compared with 6.9 percent in the first quarter. “Overall, China’s economy will remain stable but with a slightly slowing trend,” it said.
“When growth is going well, they (the Chinese government) start to withdraw a little bit of liquidity, start to raise rates a little bit,” said Will Ballard, head of emerging markets and Asia Pacific equities at Aviva Investors, referring to Beijing’s stepped up campaign to clean up the financial sector.
Over the weekend, China’s securities regulator meted out punishment to brokerage Sealand Securities and mutual fund house Sinvo Fund Management Co for their lax internal management. Sealand Securities plunged 5 percent.
Property shares also fell sharply, after fresh real estate restrictions were announced in the eastern Chinese city of Wuxi, and the central city of Changsha. But raw material shares were in demand on Monday, up 0.6 percent, as steel futures jumped nearly 6 percent to their highest since March.
Hong Kong stocks hit their highest level in 22 months, as index heavyweight rose to another record high, partly helped by continuous money inflows from mainland China. The Hang Seng index added 0.9 percent, to 25,412.26 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 1.2 percent, to 10,385.72.