Chinese stocks had a steady trading day -- then tanked at the close

IK KIL CENOTE, MEXICO – OCTOBER 18: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) In this handout image provided by Red Bull, Jonathan Paredes of Mexico dives from the 27 metre platform during the seventh and final stop of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, Ik Kil cenote, Yucatan, Mexico. (Photo by Romina Amato/Red Bull via Getty Images)

The comparative calm seen on China’s stock market earlier today came to an abrupt end this afternoon with stocks tumbling into the close.

Having meandered around the flatline for the majority of the session the benchmark Shanghai Composite tumbled in the final 30 minutes of trade, eventually ending the session down 2.20%.

The sudden drop in Shanghai hit trade in other mainland indices.

The SSE 50, comprising the largest listed firms by market capitalisation in Shanghai, dropped by 2.55%.

Elsewhere, the CSI 300 and 500 indices, consisting of the 300 and 500 largest firms listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen, fell by 2.93% and 2.77% respectively.

Like most sudden movements in Chinese markets there was no obvious catalyst to explain the sudden decline.

Given their recent track record, Chinese stock regulators will probably pin the decline on malicious short-selling initiated by mysterious foreign investors.

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