China’s stocks hit nine-month low as Chinese yuan weakens

China's stocks hit nine-month low as Chinese yuan weakens

As China’s currency continues to weaken, Chinese stocks hit nine-month lows and the yuan fell on Monday as the authorities’ efforts to revive demand failed to inspire investors, reported Channel News Asia. 

These investors are now showing less confidence in Beijing’s ability to restore momentum in the economy. 

Moreover, a smaller-than-expected-cut in a key lending benchmark disappointed markets. It, however, emphasized the constraints Beijing faces in reviving the demand through monetary easing amid broader worries about collapsing currency and capital flight.

China, the world’s second-largest economy is currently dealing with an unprecedented debt crisis in its massive property sector. It has also soured investor sentiment in the country as growth stalls, Channel News Asia reported. 

Since late November last year, China’s blue-chip index and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index both fell to the lowest level, disappointed by the measures announced on Friday by China’s securities regulators which aimed at strengthening investor confidence. 

Charu Chanana, market strategist at Saxo in Singapore said, “China’s corporates and households are in a deleveraging mode, and rate cuts will not be enough to change that. Authorities are likely starting to realise that.”

“Rate cuts only put more pressure on banks, and broader measures to address capital adequacy and solvency issues will be needed to revive sentiment and activity levels,” she added. 

The onshore yuan eased roughly 0.3 per cent to about 7.30 per dollar, reported Channel News Asia. 

The currency fell even after Beijing vowed to stabilise the currency and much stronger than expected central bank guidance, as investors struggled to shake broader worries about weak exports, sluggish consumption and property market vows. 

However, China lowered its one-year benchmark lending rate on Monday. But, it shook the markets by not changing the five-year rate on which mortgage rates are based. 

According to Channel News Asia, analysts say Monday’s modest rate cut shows authorities are concerned about the risks of a major yuan selloff and capital flight, with any easing likely to widen the yawning gap between interest rates in China and its major trading partners. 

Such concerns could limit the scope policymakers have to loosen monetary settings which would only contribute to investors’ disappointments about Beijing’s response to the current economic slowdown. 

Masayuki Kichikawa, chief macro strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management said, “Probably China limited the size and scope of rate cuts because they are concerned about downward pressure on the yuan. Chinese authorities care about currency market stability.”

Furthermore, Goldman Sachs on Monday cut its forecast on Chinese stocks and expected a lower trading range until more forceful responses to the housing market woes. 

The Chief Economist at GROW Investment Group, Hong Hao said that China needs policy goals that include specific numbers such as the size of infrastructure stimulus, or how many flats will be redeveloped under the urban village revamp programme, reported Channel News Asia. 

“To boost confidence, what we need now is a ‘flood-irrigation’ approach rather than targeted, piecemeal policies,” he added.

(This news report is published from a syndicated feed. Except for the headline, the content has not been written or edited by OpIndia staff)

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