Asia close: Chinese stocks fall as Beijing pushes regulatory reform

Alexander Bueso WebFG News | 17 Jul, 2017 11:34 | | |

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Stocks in the Asia Pacific region were mostly higher at the start of the week, but Chinese stocks lagged behind due to concerns about new regulations which more than offset a raft of better-than-expected economic data.

Speaking at the weekend, Chinese president Xi Jinping called for more work on modernising the regulatory framework.

In his remarks at the National Finance Work Conference, he also appeared to indicate that authorities might move to allow more initial public offerings, which would divert investors funds.

The Shanghai Stock Exchange's benchmark index declined 1.43% to close at 3,176.47, with smaller capitalisation firms especially weak.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.31% to 26,470.58, while the South Korean Kospi gained 0.88% to 659.89 and New Zealand's NZX 20 tacked on 0.67% to 5,234.27.

Sydney's All Ordinaries meanwhile slipped 0.14% to close at 5,800.76.

Markets in Tokyo remained closed in observance of Marine Day.

Acting as a backdrop, dollar/yen was marginally lower, slipping by 0.09% to 112.43.

Chinese gross domestic product expanded at a 6.9% year-on-year clip during the second quarter, unchanged from the first and slightly ahead of the 6.8% pace economists' had expected.

Separate reports which were also published at the start of the week showed industrial production, retail sales and fixed asset investment all grew more quickly than expected in June.

However, economists at Capital Economics and HSBC cautioned that the push for further reforms might weigh on levels of activity.

"Regulatory reforms and SOE de-leveraging are the next items on the agenda for Beijing. Both are good for the long run health of the economy. Nonetheless, a balanced approach should be taken in order to minimize the spillover effect on the private corporate sector," said Julia Wang at HSBC.

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