A Chinese state investment fund promised to expand its purchases of stock index funds, signalling Beijing's resolve to stabilise markets that have been sagging under heavy selling pressure from a property crisis and slowing economy.
Shares in Shanghai and Hong Kong surged Tuesday after the announcement by Central Huijin Investment, a Chinese sovereign fund that owns China's state-run banks and other big government-controlled enterprises.
The fund has stepped up buying of shares in big state-owned banks and other companies to counter heavy selling pressure in the Chinese markets, which have been trading at five-year lows.
The Shanghai Composite index jumped 3.2% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng surged 3.9%. The Shenzhen A-Share index was 4.6% higher.
The biggest gains in Hong Kong were in technology shares like e-commerce giants Alibaba, which surged 7.8%, and JD.com, which added 7%.
Over the weekend, the market watchdog warned it would crack down on market manipulation, insider trading and other abuses and promised to protect smaller investors who usually account for the majority of trading in Chinese markets.
On Monday, benchmarks in Shanghai and the smaller market in Shenzhen had bounced between small gains and big losses, while share prices of state-run banks and other big companies rose.
The China Securities Regulatory Commission, welcomed the announcement by Central Huijin, saying that the “historically low level” of share prices highlighted their medium and long-term investment value.
“We firmly support Central Huijin to continue to increase the scale and intensity of its holdings, and will create more convenient conditions and smoother channels for its market entry operations,” it said at a statement. It promised to “make every effort to maintain the stable operation of the market.”
It said it also would facilitate share purchases by institutional investors such as public funds, private equity funds, securities companies, social security funds, insurance institutions, and annuity funds and encourage companies to increase share repurchases.
It was unclear if the moves will suffice to turn the tide that has rattled the markets despite a flurry of moves to instill confidence and support property developers whose financial woes after the government cracked down on excessive borrowing have been a major drag on the economy.