May 9, 2019 / 7:30 AM / a year ago

China stocks close at 11-week low as trade tensions rise

* SSEC -1.5 pct, CSI300 -1.9 pct

* Trump says Beijing ‘broke’ trade talk deals, pledges to keep tariffs on Chinese goods

* China’s factory-gate inflation hits 4-month high, food prices surge

SHANGHAI, May 9 (Reuters) - China’s major stock indexes fell on Thursday to close at 11-week lows, as trade tensions escalated after U.S. President Donald Trump vowed not to back down on imposing new tariffs on Chinese imports.

** The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 1.9 percent, to 3,599.70, while the Shanghai Composite Index declined 1.5 percent to 2,850.95.

** Both indexes ended at their lowest closing levels since February 22, 2019.

** U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that China “broke the deal” it had reached in trade talks with the United States, and vowed not to back down on imposing new tariffs on Chinese imports unless Beijing “stops cheating our workers.”

** The U.S. Trade Representative’s office announced that tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods would increase to 25 percent from 10 percent at 12:01 a.m. (0401) GMT on Friday, right in the middle of two days of meetings between Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and Trump’s top trade officials in Washington.

** Beijing has announced it would retaliate if tariffs rise.

** “This sudden shift highlights the continued threat that U.S. protectionism poses to the global economy despite the recent lull in aggressive action from the Trump,” Nomura said in a note.

** With all eyes on the trade talk progress, the market sentiment seemed not to be helped by data showing the country’s factory-gate inflation hit a 4-month high.

** Sectors fell across the board. Consumer and healthcare firms led the decline, as foreigners continued to retreat via the Stock Connect linking the mainland and Hong Kong.

** Foreign buying of Chinese stocks has slowed significantly since March and turned negative in April and May, as investors worried that Beijing is turning more cautious about further stimulus amid signs that the economy is starting to stabilise.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index lost 1.62 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.93 percent.

** At 07:15 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.8059 per U.S. dollar, 0.34 percent weaker than the previous close of 6.7831.

** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 14.3 percent and the CSI300 has risen 19.6 percent, while China’s H-share index listed in Hong Kong is up 7.4 percent. Shanghai stocks have declined 7.39 percent this month.

** About 20.00 billion shares were traded on the Shanghai exchange, roughly 58.0 percent of the market’s 30-day moving average of 34.51 billion shares. The volume in the previous trading session was 23.15 billion.

** As of 07:16 GMT, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 23.24 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Shreejay Sinha)

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