* CSI300 -0.6 pct; SSEC -1.1 pct; HSI -1.6 pct
* SSEC almost breaches low hit during the summer crisis
* Fresh regulator statements fail to ease market panic
SHANGHAI, Jan 14 (Reuters) - China stocks skidded on Thursday, with the Shanghai index looking set to test lows hit during last summer’s crash as fresh market-friendly rhetoric from the government failed to calm panicking investors.
China’s blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.6 percent to 3,136.67 points by lunch time, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 1.1 percent to 2,917.52.
Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng index index hit fresh 2-1/2 lows, pounded by the losses in mainland China and an overnight sell-off on Wall Street on fears of slowing global growth.
The SSEC fell as much as 2.8 percent at one point, to merely 17 points above its 2,850.71 August low, which is seen by many investors as a key psychological support level.
If that level is breached, SSEC would witness lows not seen since Dec 2014.
“Defending that psychological support level is difficult, and meaningless,” said Zhou Lin, analyst at Huaitai Securities. “Investors see no good reason to buy stocks now - the yuan is depreciating, the U.S. is raising rates, and the economy is deteriorating.”
“You need real money to support the market, not just rhetoric,” he said, adding the government appears to have exhausted its power after last year’s massive market rescue.
Indeed, investors ignored fresh market-soothing comments from regulators.
China’s two stock exchanges said late on Wednesday that they have stepped up monitoring share selling activities by listed companies’ major shareholders, while the securities regulator reiterated that the transition toward a U.S.-style registration system for initial public offerings will not lead to a surge in IPOs.
Almost all sectors fell on Thursday, although there were signs some investors are betting a rebound in small-caps. Shenzhen’s start-up board rose 0.7 percent, bucking the broader trend.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index dropped 1.6 percent to 19,608.96 points, its lowest since June, 2013.
The Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 1.9 percent to 8,331.41.
Samuel Shen and Pete Sweeney; Editing by Kim Coghill