SHANGHAI, April 21 (Reuters) - Shanghai stocks post their worst week in 2017 as tighter regulatory scrutiny and concerns over the broader economic outlook dampened investors’ risk appetite.
The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.2 percent to 3,466.79, while the Shanghai Composite Index was flat at 3,173.15 points.
For the week, the CSI300 was down 0.5 percent, while the SSEC lost 2.2 percent.
Anxiety over tighter liquidity has deepened as Beijing intensifies its battle against speculative trading and riskier financial practices.
Top securities regulator Liu Shiyu last weekend urged stock exchanges to “brandish their sword” and punish market misbehaviours “with no mercy”.
The banking regulator has issued slew of policy directives in recent weeks aimed at lenders’ shadow banking business and risk management. The insurance regulator has also called on insurance companies to strengthen supervision of operations and investment activities and correct market disorder.
Sentiment has also been hit by growing worries over China’s economic outlook. A Reuters poll predicted economic growth slowing to 6.5 percent for the full year and weakening further to 6.2 percent in 2018, as the government seeks to cool the property sector and contain risks from a dangerous build-up of debt.
For the week, investors retreated from small-caps to seek cover in defensive sectors, in particular consumer and healthcare, while real estate and bank stocks lost ground amid curbs on property investments and tighter regulation targeting shadow banking activity.
In particular, stocks expected to benefit from the development of the country’s new Xiongan Economic Zone dragged the most, as regulators’ warnings about speculative activity checked investor enthusiasm.
Building materials maker BBMG was down 23 percent from its recent peak, while developer China Fortune Land lost 21 percent from its record high.
Some steelmakers gained despite the launch of a U.S. trade probe against China and other exporters of cheap metal, with traders noting that Washington’s move had been long expected. (Reporting by Luoyan Liu and John Ruwitch; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)