Business

China's stocks start the week with sharp losses

  • 11 January 2016
  • From the section Business
Chinese shares Image copyright Getty Images

Chinese shares finished with steep losses on Monday as jitters continued after last week's market gyrations.

The Shanghai Composite closed down 5.3% at 3,016.7 points.

In Hong Kong the benchmark Hang Seng index closed down 2.8% at 19,888.5.

Investors are keeping a close eye on movements in the Chinese currency, which is managed by the government.

The guidance rate for the yuan was raised for the second session in a row.

Currency fears

But that failed to reassure investors worried about further weakening in the future.

"Global markets are still in the grips of China fears, and it is uncertain whether the Chinese government can do enough to reassure global investors," said IG's Angus Nicholson.

"The open of the Chinese cash market today has looked like a battle ground between state buying and investors still trying to get out, and has done little to ease the sense of fear seen in other Asian equity markets," he added.

Traders were also unnerved as Hong Kong's inter-bank lending rate for the offshore yuan (CNH) spiked to a record high.

Analysts said the spike was due to a lack of yuan in the Hong Kong banking system - a situation due possibly to intervention from China's central bank in an attempt to support its currency.

The Hong Kong Interbank Offered Rate (Hibor) tied to the offshore yuan rose 13.4% - the highest mark reached since the benchmark's inception in 2013.

Deflation worries

Weak inflation data from China over the weekend also did little to encourage investor sentiment.

The mainland's consumer inflation edged up 1.6% in December from a year ago, compared to a 1.5% rise the previous month.

But deflation worries remain in the world's second largest economy as factory-gate prices continued to fall for the 46th consecutive month, down 5.9%.

Global markets made big losses after Chinese trading was suspended twice last week on dramatic plunges in values that triggered a circuit breaker mechanism, and spurred more volatility.

China suspended the use of that tool on Friday, a move that reassured traders.

Oil tumbles further

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Falling oil prices continued to weigh on Sydney's market

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index closed down 1.2% to 4,932.2 as falling oil prices continued to weigh on the market.

The price of Brent crude oil fell another 750 cents to $32.80 a barrel.

Mining heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto both plunged 4.9% and 3.3% respectively on the weakness in the resources sector.

In South Korea, the benchmark Kospi index ended down 1.2% to 1,894.73 points.

Japanese markets were closed for a public holiday.

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