SHANGHAI: China’s major stock indexes fell on Thursday to close at near four-month lows, as worries persisted over the country’s economic momentum amid a bruising trade war with the United States which shows no signs of easing.
The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.9% to 3,564.68, while the Shanghai Composite Index closed down 1.2% at 2,827.80.
For the holiday-curtailed four-day week, CSI300 dropped 1.8%, while SSEC retreated 2.4%.
China and Hong Kong markets will be closed for Dragon Boat Festival on Friday.
China is expected to report a sharper drop in exports for May as higher U.S. tariffs bite, while imports are likely to contract in a further sign of weakening domestic demand that could spark more stimulus measures.
A private survey showed on Wednesday that the country’s services activity grew at the slowest pace in three months in May, hit by a marked cooling in export sales.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its 2019 economic growth forecast for China to 6.2% on Wednesday on heightened uncertainty around trade frictions, saying more policy easing would be warranted if the Sino-U.S. trade war escalates.
Some U.S. lawmakers are trying to pass legislation that would make it harder for Chinese students and scholars to work in the United States, citing security concerns as the trade war rages.
China and the United States are engaged in a fierce trade war, with clashes over Taiwan and the South China Sea exacerbating tensions.
Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.21%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.01%.
At 07:15 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.9143 per U.S. dollar, 0.08% weaker than the previous close of 6.909.
The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were Wanxiang Doneed Co Ltd, up 10.04%, followed by Grinm Advanced Materials Co Ltd, gaining 9.98% and Zhejiang Dehong Automotive Electronic & Electrical Co Ltd, up by 9.97%.
The largest percentage losers in the Shanghai index were Ling Yun Industrial Corp Ltd down 10.03%, followed by Shangying Global Co Ltd losing 10.03% and Gansu Dunhuang Seed Group Co Ltd down by 10.02%.
So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 13.4% and the CSI300 has risen 18.4%, while China’s H-share index listed in Hong Kong is up 1.7%. Shanghai stocks have declined 2.45% this month.
About 17.71 billion shares were traded on the Shanghai exchange, roughly 74.5% of the market’s 30-day moving average of 23.76 billion shares a day. The volume in the previous trading session was 18.16 billion.
As of 07:16 GMT, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 27.45% over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. - Reuters