Policy speculation takes toll on equities

Updated: 2011-09-03 10:11

By Zhang Shidong (China Daily)

  Comments() Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

Policy speculation takes toll on equities
Stock prices are displayed at a securities house in Shanghai.[Photo/Bloomberg]

SHANGHAI - Stocks on the Chinese mainland fell on Friday, capping the benchmark index's biggest weekly loss in three months. The retreat was the result of speculation that the government won't ease policy measures to cool inflation, even as economic and earnings growth slows.

Huaxia Bank Co and Industrial Bank Co led declines for banks after Caijing magazine reported that the odds China will lower the reserve-requirement ratio for small- and medium-sized banks are not big.

"The economic growth momentum is weak globally and investors are hesitant to increase their risk appetites," said Wei Wei, an analyst at West China Securities Co in Shanghai. "For China, the problem is still inflation and there won't be any easing before prices taper off."

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index slid 27.76 points, or 1.1 percent, to 2528.28. It lost 3.2 percent this week, the most since the period ended on May 27, after the central bank ordered lenders to set aside more reserves against margin deposits. The CSI 300 Index fell 1.1 percent to 2803.85.

The Shanghai gauge has slumped 10 percent this year as the central bank raised interest rates five times and ordered lenders to set aside more cash as deposit reserves 12 times since the start of 2010 to contain inflation. It is valued at 11.6 times estimated earnings, matching a record low set on Aug 22, according to daily data compiled by Bloomberg.

Huaxia Bank, partly owned by Deutsche Bank AG, slid 2.1 percent to 10.36 yuan ($1.6). Industrial Bank, partly owned by a unit of HSBC Holdings Plc, fell 1.6 percent to 13.18 yuan. Shanghai Pudong Development Bank Co, the Chinese partner of Citigroup Inc, lost 0.9 percent to 9.29 yuan.

The chance is "quite small" that China's central bank will lower the reserve-requirement ratio for small- and medium-sized banks, Caijing reported, citing Industrial Bank economist Lu Zhengwei.

China's financial and industrial stock gauges in the CSI 300 slumped more than 3 percent this week after the central bank ordered on Aug 26 that lenders will have to include margin deposits in calculations of their reserve requirements starting from Sept 5. The move is intended to deal with the rapid growth in banks' off-balance sheet lending that's complicating the central bank's attempts to control liquidity, according to Wang Tao, a Hong Kong-based economist for UBS AG.

Bloomberg News