Chinese shares plunge

Beijing, Oct 14 (IANS) Chinese shares dipped on Wednesday after the release of inflation data showed prolonged weakness in demand.

After a four-day winning streak, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index closed down 0.93 percent to end at 3,262.44 points, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Shenzhen Component Index lost 1.27 percent to close at 10,901.48 points.

Total turnover on the Shanghai and Shenzhen bourses rose slightly to 769.14 billion yuan ($121.3 billion), up from 766.37 billion yuan on the previous trading day.

Shares of companies in the foreign trade, insurance, and auto sectors had the worst performance, while electric charger manufacturers continued to see their share prices rise.

Wednesday’s decline came after the release of official inflation data, which came in lower than expected, raising speculation of further monetary easing policies by the central bank.

China’s consumer price index (CPI), the main gauge of inflation, rose 1.6 percent in September from last year, down from two percent in August, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Wednesday.

The producer price index (PPI), a measure of costs for goods at the factory gate, fell 5.9 percent year on year, marking the 43rd straight month of decline.

The downcast PPI and slowing CPI highlighted deflation pressure, said Minsheng Securities, projecting a high possibility for further cuts in interest rates and the bank reserve requirement ratio (RRR) in the fourth quarter.

The stock market has gained around 7.8 percent in the past four trading days following the week-long National Day holiday with the help of favourable government policies.

On Saturday, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said it would expand a pilot programme on credit-asset pledged lending to nine municipalities and provinces.

The move will not provide liquidity to the market directly, said PBOC chief economist Ma Jun on Wednesday, but it will be an important step to guide more money into local financial institutions.

The expansion of collateral types will help local agricultural firms and small businesses obtain more funds from banks, thus boosting the real economy.

On Wednesday, the ChiNext Index, which tracks China’s NASDAQ-style board of growth enterprises, dropped 1.58 percent to close at 2,305 points.

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