SHANGHAI: China stocks ended lower on Wednesday, as healthcare firms slumped on concerns that the United States would place some biotech firms on investment and export blacklists, while resurgent COVID-19 cases also weighed on the consumer sector.
The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.9% to close at 5,005.90, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.4% to 3,647.63.
China’s factory output grew faster than expected in November, supported by stronger energy production and a moderation in raw material prices, but retail sales slowed as new COVID-19 outbreaks hit the world’s second-largest economy.
China’s central bank injected funds into the financial system through medium-term loans, while keeping the interest rate unchanged for the 20th straight month.
Consumer staples lost 1.5% amid resurgent COVID-19 cases and China’s zero-tolerance policy that hurt domestic consumption. The latest outbreak has disrupted activities in parts of China’s biggest manufacturing hubs.
Healthcare companies slumped 3.2%, with biotech firm BeiGene Ltd plunging 16.4% in its Shanghai debut.
The U.S. commerce department is expected to place more than two dozen Chinese companies on the entity list on Thursday, including some involved in biotechnology, according to the Financial Times.
“The entity list, and Beigene dropping below its offering price, weighed on sentiment on the healthcare sector,” said Ade Chen, general manager at Fund Investment in Guangzhou.
Semiconductors and non-ferrous metal industry retreated 1.4% and 2%, respectively.
The construction engineering subindex surged 1.8%, after Xinhua reported China will promote southwestern Chengdu-Chongqing “twin city” region with total investment of about 2 trillion yuan ($314.2 billion) next year.
Real estate developers rebounded 0.8%, after falling on Tuesday, as property developer Shimao Group’s woes rekindled worries over China’s property sector.
Coal miners gained 1.7% after China’s coal output hit a record high in November.