Chinese stocks have had another session to forget, tanking in the final hour of trade to close down nearly 3%.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite index finished the session down 2.9% at 2655.66 points, having been close to breakeven with less than a hour to trade.
The closing level was the lowest seen since November 27, 2014, and extends the decline from the multi year high of 5178.19 struck on June 12 last year to 48.68%.
From another perspective, the index has now nearly halved in just 155 sessions of trade.
The chart below reveals the scale of the recent plunge, along with the remarkable rally that preceded it.
Despite a renewed 1.5% slide in crude futures, energy was the only sector to finish in the black.
Materials, IT, industrials and telecoms all finished down by more than 4%.
Like the Composite in Shanghai, all other mainland indices suffered heavy losses.
Like Wednesday, large cap stocks outperformed their smaller rivals.
The SSE 50 finished down 1.94% while the CSI 300 – covering large cap stocks listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen – slumped 2.61%.
At the other end of the spectrum, the CSI 500, Shenzhen Composite and tech-heavy ChiNext indices – brimming with small cap stocks – all slid by more than 4%.
Another tough day at the office, with no immediate reason to explain the sudden, and shuddering, late plunge.
Even a modest strengthening in the offshore traded yuan, nor another sizeable liquidity injection from the PBOC, was not enough to halt the markets losses.
The USD/CNH is currently trading at 6.6125, having fallen as low as 6.6094 earlier in the session. Before mainland markets opened it has been as high as 6.6175.
Selling of US dollars by Chinese banks was the likely reason behind the sudden recovery.
As they have done for the past two weeks, the PBOC also made another sizeable liquidity injection into the nation’s financial system, adding 340 billion yuan through 7 and 28-day reverse repos.
For the week the bank injected 590 billion yuan, up from 315 billion yuan last week.
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