China stocks posted their fourth week of declines Friday, the longest period of losses in two years and their lowest level in two months as investors worry that the economy’s recent upswing may be fizzling out.
The market was pulled down by a drop in metal prices, as well as energy, consumer, transportation and material companies. This added to weakness in the yuan and concerns that the government will hold off on injecting new stimulus into the economy.
The Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index slid 0.3% to 2,827 points, its lowest close since March 11. The Shenzhen Stock Exchange Composite Index shed 0.3% to 1,984. The blue-chip CSI 300 index fell 0.5% to 3,075. The small-cap barometer the Chinext Price Index declined 0.5% to 2,025 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index sank 1% to 19, 719. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index dropped 1.3% to 8,301. It is now 10% off its April high, entering a so-called correction.
For the week, Shanghai lost 3%, and the CSI 300 declined 1.8%. Both indexes fell for the fourth straight week. The Shanghai index has now sunk 20% for the year, making it the worst performer among 95 global benchmark indexes tracked by Bloomberg.
The markets had been rising on signs of an improving economy in March, but investors slammed on the brakes after an article in People’s Daily on Monday, said the economic trend was following an “L-shaped”, implying little pick-up in growth momentum.
The article also appeared to signal that Beijing will be more cautious about loose monetary policies, especially in the use of excessive debt to stimulate growth.
This apparent policy shift, away from rapid credit expansion seen early in the year, was supported by data showing China’s fiscal expenditures rose 4.5% in April from a year earlier, slowing sharply from a 20.1% jump in March.