China stocks rebound on no change in selling ban
China’s blue chip shares rebounded Wednesday after the top securities regulator said it would keep in place a selling ban that was to expire on Friday.
While economic news had been the main reason the CSI300 Index plunged 7% on Monday, triggering circuit breakers that shut down the market for the day, the selling ban on major shareholders of large corporations had been blamed as a secondary reason. The ban had been put into place to arrest the stock market rout last summer.
On Wednesday, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said it would implement a new policy to manage the pace of such sales, but did not say when it would release the new rules.
After the news, the CSI300 Index rose 1.8% to 3539.81 and the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index jumped 2.2% to 3,362. The Shenzhen Stock Exchange Composite Index leapt. 2.6% to 2, 134.
“It’s like the sword of Damocles, always hanging over your head. The best way is to remove restrictions altogether.” Shen Weizheng, fund manager at Shanghai-based Ivy Capital, told Reuters adding that extending share sale restrictions would prolong market bearishness.
Unlike Monday, when a report showing factory activity contracted for the 10 consecutive month in December, sparking a sell-off, the market held up well on Wednesday, despite a similar report. The Caixin/Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index for the service sector fell in December to 50.2, from November’s 51.2, its slowest pace of expansion in 17 months.
Stocks also held up in the face of the Chinese yuan plunging to a five-year low in offshore trading. The offshore yuan fell to 6.6915 against the US dollar, the lowest rate of exchange since at least the last quarter of 2010 and a 2.1% discount to the onshore yuan’s 6.5506 level. This occurred after the People’s Bank of China unexpectedly fixed the midpoint rate at 6.5314 per dollar prior to the market open, even weaker than the previous day’s closing quote 6.5157.