Chinese stocks suffered their worst day in three months in the wake of the ruling Communist party’s centenary celebrations as investors offloaded shares in local makers of liquor and beer.
The CSI 300 index of Shanghai- and Shenzhen-listed stocks tumbled 2.8 per cent, its biggest one-day fall since March on Friday as expectations that Beijing would prevent falls ahead of the anniversary gave way to nerves about the country’s economic outlook.
The sell-off came on the heels of the centennial celebration of the CCP’s founding on Thursday, at which 70,000 people gathered in central Beijing to take part in a carefully choreographed ceremony at which President Xi Jinping lauded his party’s accomplishments from the podium of the Gate of Heavenly Peace at the entrance of the Forbidden City.
Chinese stocks had been calm ahead of the centenary, which traders put down to expectations that authorities would support the market until festivities ended.
Among the biggest fallers on Friday were Kweichow Moutai, the world’s largest liquor producer whose spirits are a mainstay of official festivities in China, which dropped 4.4 per cent. Tsingtao Brewery, maker of a popular beer brand, fell 5.5 per cent. CICC, a state-backed Chinese investment bank, tumbled 6.2 per cent.
“The fireworks are over,” said Louis Tse, managing director of Hong Kong-based brokerage Wealthy Securities.
Now that the celebrations were over, he added, traders’ attention had pivoted to potential headwinds for the global economy.
“For the second half we know inflation is just around the corner and an interest rate hike [by the US central bank] after that,” Tse added. “People are taking profits now and I’m not surprised.”
Andy Maynard, a trader at investment bank China Renaissance in Hong Kong, a Chinese brokerage, said there was little to suggest that Beijing had intervened to support equity markets during the lead-up to the centenary but added that investors had expected more supportive rhetoric from Xi’s keynote address.
The speech made little mention of measures to support the economy or markets and instead focused on the party’s role in fostering the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”. Xi warned that infringements of China’s sovereignty would be met with “a great wall of steel”.
“The disappointment was from the fact that there was no concrete narrative around economy and markets,” Maynard said.
Elsewhere on Friday, Shenzhen’s technology-focused ChiNext fell 3.5 per cent. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng China Enterprises index dropped 2.3 per cent as the broader Hang Seng stumbled almost 2 per cent.
Offshore investors also piled out of Chinese shares on Friday, with those trading through Hong Kong’s market link-ups with Shanghai and Shenzhen selling a net Rmb8.6bn ($1.3bn).