BEIJING: A government crackdown pushed China stocks to their worst day in a year on Monday, sending an index of emerging shares to their lowest so far this year.
Chinese blue-chips lost 3.2 percent and Hong Kong’s benchmark sank 4 percent after China barred tutoring for profit in core school subjects, wiping off more than 40 percent of the market value of educational firms. This comes as China’s tech shares are still reeling from a crackdown.
“Given that the China tech crackdown has already frayed investors nerves along with credit concerns... (the latest move) in the education sector... is another ratchet higher in the regulatory risk landscape in China,” said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst, Asia Pacific at OANDA.
That set a dour tone for equities, with MSCI’s index of EM shares down 2.1 percent after losing more than 2.5 percent last week. Western European shares eased off record highs, and futures tracking Wall Street indexes inched lower.
South African shares snapped a four-day winning streak, while Russian shares are now nearly 5 percent away from all-time highs hit earlier this month.
July is shaping up to be the worst month for EM shares since the March 2020 COVID-19 rout when they lost more than 15 percent.
Meanwhile, talks between Washington and Beijing got off to a tense start as China blamed the United States for a “stalemate” in their relationship.
Rising COVID-19 infections continued to weigh, with Turkey reporting a tripling of cases on Sunday compared with earlier this month, while the total number of infections in Russia crossed 6 million although officials say cases may have peaked at least in Moscow.
Turkey’s lira looked to post its worst session in a month against the dollar and the euro, down about 0.7 percent against both. Russia’s rouble slipped 0.5 percent against the greenback, with falling oil prices also weighing.
Russia on Friday delivered a 100 basis point interest rate hike, joining several other EM central banks as they attempt to contain inflation.
Eyes this week will be on the US Federal Reserve’s policy decision on Wednesday. Chairman Jerome Powell’s dovish stance so far has provided some support to risk assets this year.
South Africa’s rand hit a near four-month low, with the easing of some pandemic-led restrictions providing little support.
It has lost nearly 5 percent in two weeks after violent protests broke out following the arrest of former President Jacob Zuma, which the central bank said would probably slow the country’s economic recovery.
Tunisian dollar bonds dropped more than 2 cents after President Kais Saied ousted the government.