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SHANGHAI: China stocks ended lower on Thursday, as worries about policy tightening mounted a day ahead of China’s first-quarter GDP data release.

The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.6% to close at 4,948.97, down 16.5% from an all-time high hit on Feb. 18, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.5% to 3,398.99.

The banking sector took a hit, with the CSI300 banks index shedding as much as 1.9%.

China is widening the scope of stress tests on its lenders by including all of its 4,024 banks this year, a central bank publication said on Wednesday, amid concerns over mounting debt levels of companies and financial strains in some sectors.

Worries over China’s bond market also soured sentiment.

The cost of insurance against a default in China’s dollar debt rose on Wednesday to its highest since October, on lingering concern over the effects of China Huarong Asset Management’s delay in reporting its results.

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