The bearish mood cast over China’s stock market has been so extreme in the last 14 trading sessions that China’s “national team,” otherwise known as the “plunge protection team” (in US terms), or state-backed funds, stepped in earlier this week to shore up equities after the nation’s benchmark CSI 300 Index plunged into a correction. The communist government took the intervention over the top by censoring “stock market” hashtags on popular social media channels.
In just 14 trading sessions, the CSI 300 Index plunged more than 15% from a 13-year high. The sudden selloff wiped out $1.3 trillion in value and crushed retail investors who bought the peak, hoping that the new lunar year of the Ox, or bull, would lead them to new riches. Guess not…
Earlier this week, we noted state intervention in the form of the “national team” showed up to purchase equities for stabilization. The national team is equivalent to the US’ “plunge protection team.”
Despite the state’s open market operation, the CSI 300 Index failed to rally on Wednesday. Authorities turned to Weibo, the Twitter-like platform with half a billion active users, to censor specific hashtags popular with investors, such as “stock market.”
Bloomberg said the “stock market” generated zero posts on Weibo on Wednesday, “suggesting the phrase had been censored.” The censorship comes during the annual session of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC), which began on Mar. 5.
Besides the censorship on social media, the stock correction has been widely missing from national papers this week. Instead, NPC developments were headlined.
With the CSI 300 deep into a correction, the equity index has approached the daily 200 exponential moving average around the 4,878 level.
The rout comes three months after Zero Hedge subscribers were first made aware of the most significant risk for the global economy, that is, China’s credit impulse was topping. Last week, Pimco finally caught up to us and was ringing the same alarm bell in a piece titled “Pimco Warns of Risks From Beijing’s Credit Curtail.”
The latest stock rout in China could be in response to an upcoming economic slowdown. Perhaps, the CSI 300’s slump is a warning sign for global stocks.
Year of the bull or year of the bear? That’s the trillion-dollar question as the world awaits US’ stimulus aid.