China will not raise the stamp tax for the stock exchange in a short term, said officials from the Ministry of Finance yesterday, refuting a rumor about a possible securities stamp tax hike.
Word spread on the stock markets yesterday that the Ministry of Finance would raise the securities stamp tax to three in a thousand from one in a thousand. But later officials from the ministry and the State Administration of Taxation claimed they had not received any notice about it.
However, Yang Chengzhang, chief economist of Shenyin & Wanguo Securities Co, said "it is now the proper time for the government to raise the securities stamp tax." "It is abnormal that speculation on the Chinese stock market has boosted the trading volume to several times that of the combined major Asian nations including Japan, although the market value is only half of Japan's," Yang added.
The stamp duty rise will help lower the number of trades and cool the overheated stock market, but will not cause a huge fluctuation of stocks, according to Yang. Stock trading profits in a short term are still large, even though the stamp tax may rise by 0.15 percentage points.
"If the government raises the stamp duty, the purpose will be to manipulate the stock market, not to increase the tax revenue, since stamp duty just contributes a small part to the total tax revenue," said Li Quan, an analyst from the financial research institute under the Ministry of Finance.
According to the People's Bank of China, the country's securities stamp tax revenue hit 12.2 billion yuan (US$1.6 billion) in the first quarter, a remarkable increase of 515.9 percentyear on year, backed by the huge stock transaction volume. The financial income reached 1.18 trillion yuan, up 26.7 percent from the first quarter of 2006.
In April alone, theShanghai Stock Exchangeand theShenzhen Stock Exchangeadded 4.79 million new A-share trading accounts in total. This exceededthe accumulated new stock accounts opened in the past two years. This brought the total number of stock trading accounts on the two bourses to 993.95 million.
The government halved the securities the stamp duty rate to one in a thousand in January 2005 in a bid to help boost the depressed equity market. China adjusted the stamp duty six times before, cutting it to three in a thousand in 1991 from six in a thousand for the first time.