China stock market traded higher on January 6, recovering some of the steep losses made earlier this week on concerns about the economy.
The Shanghai Composite index was up 1.8% to 3,348.22 as measures from regulators to support the stock market started to have an impact.
Local reports said the securities regulator would keep in effect its ban on share sales by major shareholders until new rules were released.
The ban was set to expire on January 8.
It was put in place six months ago at the height of the mainland stock market sell-off over the summer and locked up an estimated 1.24 trillion yuan ($190 billion) worth of shares.
Photo AFP/Getty Images
The 7% plunge in the Shanghai market on January 4, which led to the suspension of trading for the first time, triggered a global equities rout.
Beijing’s decision on January 5 to inject cash into the falling market also helped soothe fears.
Economic data that suggested activity in China’s services sector expanded at its slowest pace in 17 months in December had little impact on investors’ confidence.
The Caixin/Markit purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 50.2 from 51.2 in November. A reading above 50 suggests growth in the sector, while one below that suggests contraction.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index failed to match the positive run from the mainland market and was down 0.7% to 21,042.89.
Traders in the rest of Asia were cautious after a North Korean nuclear test heightened geopolitical tensions.
North Korea claimed that it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb on January 6, drawing widespread criticism from around the world.
South Korea’s Kospi index finished down 0.3% to 1,925.43, but the index was already lower before the news of the bomb.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index ended lower by 1% to 18,191.32, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed down 1.2% to 5,123.1.
Shares of Japanese electronics maker Sharp fell 3.3% after reports that the troubled tech company is expected to book an operating loss of at least 10 billion yen ($84 million) for the nine months to December.
A total of 197 people have been arrested in China for spreading rumors online about the recent stock market crash and fatal explosions in Tianjin, according to state news agency Xinhua.
A journalist and stock market officials are among those arrested, Xinhua said. It gave no other details.
Chinese shares fell by nearly 8% after a week of volatile trading that spread fear to global markets.
The Tianjin explosions killed 150 people – with 23 still missing.
A total of 367 people remain in hospital after the August 12 blast at a Tianjin warehouse where large amounts of toxic chemicals were stored. Twenty are in critical condition, according to Xinhua.
Separately, the UK’s Financial Times says Chinese leaders feel they mishandled their stock market rescue efforts.
The publication, quoting an account of a meeting of senior regulatory officials on August 27, said the government had decided to abandon attempts to boost the stock market and instead step up efforts to punish people suspected of “destabilizing the market”.
Chinese authorities tightly control information online and have previously prosecuted internet users for spreading rumors.
The rumors described by the latest statement include reports that a man had jumped to his death in Beijing due to the stock market slump and that as many as 1,300 people were killed in Tianjin blasts, Xinhua said.
The news agency said “seditious rumors about China’s upcoming commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II” were also among the offences.
A journalist was also arrested along with several stock market officials, according to a Xinhua report. The journalist, Wang Xiaolu, is accused of “spreading fake information” about the market slump, the report said.
Xinhua said Wang Xiaolu confessed that he “wrote fake report on Chinese stock market based on hearsay and his own subjective guesses without conducting due verifications”.
In 2013 China introduced a possible three-year sentence for spreading rumors – the sentence was supposed to apply to anyone who posted a rumor that was reposted 500 times or viewed 5,000 times.
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