For proper effect, the directives were purposefully leaked to the media.
The Shanghai Composite Index plunged 10.2% last week, the largest weekly drop in two years, and was down 11.4% since January 26. But it wasn’t just last week that things became unglued. The Shenzhen Composite Index had plunged 14% since January 24, only about half of it last week.
The Spring Festival holiday is coming up this week, and there were fears that traders want to unload additional positions ahead of it. There are other factors lined up against the stock market, including China’s off-and-on-again crackdown on leverage. So it was time for authorities to step in and set things right.
Over the weekend the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) and other regulators have sent directives to:
- Major stockholders, telling them to acquire more shares of companies listed in mainland China in which they already own large stakes.
- Mutual fund firms, telling them to curtail share sales to avoid becoming net sellers.
- Brokerages, telling them to provide to the CSRC trading summaries from last week along with trading plans and previews for the current week.
For proper effect, so that all players in the market would know that the Chinese authorities are going to stop the selloff and turn it around, and thus to encourage more buying by other players, these directives were purposefully leaked to the media, including Bloomberg, which reported it this morning. This served as confirmation what everyone had been hoping for: That the authorities would not let the market fall prey to market forces.
The directives went out this weekend, but late last week there was already some heavy lifting going on behind the scenes that wasn’t properly leaked. Bloomberg counted over 110 companies listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen that had announced that their major shareholders had increased their stakes in them starting on Friday.
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