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China shares end lower as investors take stock of global shutdowns

At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.9% at 2,747.21.

Reuters|
Last Updated: Mar 30, 2020, 02.16 PM IST
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SHANGHAI: China stocks ended lower on Monday as investor concerns over coronavirus-driven global shutdowns overshadowed an unexpected rate cut by the country's central bank.

At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.9% at 2,747.21.

The blue-chip CSI300 index was down 0.97%, with its financial sector sub-index lower by 0.69%, the consumer staples sector fell 0.3%, the real estate index was down 0.93% and the healthcare sub-index lost 1.07%.

The current concern is if external demand deteriorates due to the pandemic, China will be inevitably impacted as it's a key part of global industry chains, Bohai Securities said in a report.

The upside room for the A-share market is relatively narrow, the brokerage added.

A rising tide of national lockdowns threatened to overwhelm policymakers' frantic efforts to cushion the fallout from the virus outbreak.

The ruling Communist Party's Politburo said the government will step up policy measures and tighten enforcement in a bid to achieve full-year economic and social development targets.

China's central bank unexpectedly cut the rate on reverse repurchase agreements by 20 basis points on Monday, the largest in nearly five years, as authorities stepped up measures to relieve pressure on an economy ravaged by the pandemic.

In a note to clients, Capital Economics said "a lot more easing will be needed, especially on the fiscal front, to help the economy return to its pre-virus trend".

Activity in China's vast manufacturing sector likely remained in contraction in March, though it was set to stabilise slightly from the coronavirus-led collapse that virtually paralysed the world's second-biggest economy.

China reported a drop in new coronavirus infections for a fourth day as drastic curbs on international travellers reined in the number of imported cases.

Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.4%, while Japan's Nikkei index closed down 1.57%.

At 07:14 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 7.0967 per U.S. dollar, unchanged from its previous close.
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