SHANGHAI: China’s main equity gauges fell on Wednesday with consumer firms dragging the market lower, as investors continued to worry that strong economic data could lead to possible policy tightening.
At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.1% at 3,479.63. The blue-chip CSI300 index was down 0.71%, with the consumer staples sector down 3.01% after rallying nearly 6.5% last week. The financial sector sub-index slid 0.39%, and the healthcare sub-index lost 0.29%.
The three biggest drags on the CSI300 index were all distillers. Kweichow Moutai Co Ltd dropped 3.06%, Wuliangye Yibin Co Ltd fell 4.89% and Luzhou Laojiao Co Ltd dropped 6.11%.
The smaller Shenzhen index ended down 0.36% and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was weaker by 0.862%.
Foreign investors were slight net sellers of A-shares on Wednesday, with Refinitiv data indicating outflows from the Shanghai Stock Exchange via the Stock Connect programme through Hong Kong.
So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 0.2% and the CSI300 has fallen 2.1%, while China’s H-share index listed in Hong Kong is up 3%. Shanghai stocks have risen 1.1% this month.
Analysts say that strong economic data could prompt authorities to tighten policy, putting pressure on equity valuations. “We can’t rule out the possibility that policymakers may move as early as late this year to tighten monetary policy, potentially triggering knock-on effects in both the real economy and financial markets,” Christina Zhu, economist at Moody’s Analytics said in a note.