RIYADH: China stocks flitted in a tight range on Monday, with the energy sector being partially countered by losses in consumer shares, as domestic COVID-19 outbreaks and tensions with the US kept market sentiment fragile.
The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.2 percent to 4,148.07, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.3 percent to 3,236.93 points.
The Hang Seng index fell 0.8 percent to 20,045.77, while the China Enterprises Index lost 1.2 percent to 6,821.52.
Tax probe on oil refiners
China is set to begin another round of tax inspections on independent refiners that will last months, adding to pressure on refinery operations which are already running well below capacity, five trading and refinery executives told Reuters.
The world’s top crude oil importer has been clamping down on independent refiners since early last year, including probes into quota trading and fuel tax evasion, as Beijing seeks to curb excessive fuel processing and recoup state tax revenue losses.
With fuel demand already sluggish under Beijing’s zero-COVID policy, the probes hastened a rare annual decline in the nation’s crude oil imports and refinery production.
Independent refiners, mostly located in eastern refining hub of Shandong, account for roughly a fifth of the total Chinese crude oil imports.
The new inspections, due to start later this month, will be led by 15 state agencies including macroeconomic planner the National Development and Reform Commission, the State Taxation Administration and the National Audit Office, the sources said.
“We were informed last week of the upcoming inspections and are getting ready for that,” said a trading executive with an independent refiner based in Shandong.
July meat imports down
China, the world’s top meat buyer, imported 643,000 tons of meat in July, General Administration of Customs data on Sunday showed.
July’s meat imports were down 24.7 percent from the same month a year earlier, but up 6.6 percent from June 2022.
Meanwhile, meat imports for January to July were 4.10 million tons, down 30.9 percent from a year ago, according to official data.
(With input from Reuters)