SHANGHAI: China stocks closed lower on Wednesday as market sentiment was dented after Premier Li Keqiang warned of downward pressure in the world’s second-largest economy and as new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases spiked to a near three-month high.
At the close, the blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.39% to 4,821.11 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index eased 0.2% to 3,498.54 points.
The smaller Shenzhen index ended 0.06% lower for the day and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index lost 0.38%.
Premier Li was quoted by state media on Tuesday evening saying that China’s economy faces new downward pressures, but that policymakers would keep economic operations within a reasonable range and take measures to support industrial sectors.
However, shares of traditional resources such as coal, outperformed the market on Wednesday, with the coal sub-index jumping 4.2%.
Some market analysts said the coal sub-index was tracking an increase in coal futures and spot prices, despite China’s state planner statement that coal prices would “accelerate their return to a reasonable level”.
The National Health Commission confirmed on Wednesday 93 new local symptomatic cases for Nov. 2, up from 54 a day earlier and the highest daily count since Aug. 9 at the peak of China’s last major outbreak.
Market analysts and traders said investors were also anxiously awaiting the outcome of U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy meeting due later in the day, where the U.S. central bank was likely to announce winding down of its pandemic-era monetary stimulus.