Date: July 8, 2015
By: Howard Gold
The underlying problem is that the investing culture is immature
Since the Shanghai Composite index dropped from a 52-week high around 5,178 on June 12, it’s been downhill all the way.
In just three weeks, stocks listed on mainland China’s most prominent exchange tumbled 30% from their seven-year highs. The even more speculative ChiNext Index has lost 42% of its value over 21 days.
Investors and traders who piled into Chinese shares over the past year, causing Shanghai to rise 150% and other markets to catapult even more dramatically, faced margin calls on their highly leveraged positions and started selling with both hands and both feet.
It was the biggest rout in this volatile market since 1992, and it prompted the Chinese government to take strong measures.
Last week, the Bank of China cut short-term interest rates for the fourth time this year. Regulators relaxed margin requirements and cracked down on short sellers, while state-run media tried to calm jittery investors with happy talk. That did little to stanch the hemorrhage.