China’s stock regulator promises to protect investor interests as the market falls to four-year low

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China’s stock regulator promises to protect investor interests as the market falls to four-year low

China’s securities regulator said it had met investors after the nation’s stock market fell to its lowest level in almost four years last week, pledging its commitment to protect their interests and ensure a fair and transparent capital market.

In a rare move, Liu Shiyu, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, held a meeting with 15 hedge fund managers and retail investors on market reforms and stabilisation at a Beijing brokerage outlet of China Securities on Sunday, according to a statement posted on the regulator’s website.

Liu, who oversees the stock market with the world’s largest number of individual investors, said in the meeting the CSRC would always undertake the responsibility of protecting investors and make efforts to create a fair and transparent capital market. He stayed clear of any discussion on how to bolster the stock market.

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Under Liu’s charge, China’s stock market this year entered a bear market, ceded the title of the world’s second-largest market to Japan, and the benchmark gauge fell below the level in the aftermath of the 2015 crash that wiped off US$5 trillion.

The investor attendants proposed market-boosting measures including elevating the strategic status of the stock market, deepening state-owned enterprise reforms, optimising trading systems and tax breaks for hedge funds, according to the statement.

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China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite Index has dropped 22 per cent so far this year as the worst performer among the world’s major markets. An ongoing trade war with the US and a deleveraging campaign to curb shadow banking and cut corporate debts are blamed for the rout.

Sell-off has deepened this month. The Shanghai Composite tumbled 7.6 per cent last week, posting the worst performance for a five-day period in eight months. It extended the decline by dropping 1.5 per cent to 2,568.10 on Monday, the lowest close since November 25, 2014.

Liu, former chairman of the Agricultural Bank of China, took over the helm of the US$5.4 trillion stock market in February 2016 after turmoil from a circuit breaker system forced his predecessor Xiao Gang to step down.

China had 143 million retail investors as of the end of September, according to data from China Securities Depository and Clearing. That is almost equivalent to the entire population of Russia.

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