China's Stock-Rescue Tab Surges to $236 Billion, Goldman Says

Are Some Concerns Over China Overdone?
  • Total spending is equivalent to 9.2 percent of free float
  • Investor concern about state paring buying is overdone

China’s government has spent 1.5 trillion yuan ($236 billion) trying to shore up its stock market since a rout began three months ago, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

The “national team" expended about 600 billion yuan in August alone, with the total now equivalent in value to 9.2 percent of China’s freely-traded shares, strategists including Kinger Lau wrote in a report dated Monday. Investor concern about what will happen when the government starts to pare these holdings is overdone, they wrote, citing past experiences in Hong Kong and in the U.S.

The Shanghai Composite Index has tumbled 41 percent since its June high to erase $5 trillion in value from mainland bourses as leveraged investors fled amid signs of deepening weakness in the economy. To stop the plunge, officials armed a state agency with more than $400 billion to purchase stocks, banned selling by major shareholders and told state-owned companies to buy equities. The rout, coupled with a shock devaluation of the yuan, has roiled global markets.

The gauge slumped the most in two weeks on Monday on speculation government-backed funds halted intervention following the conclusion of a military parade last week. China Securities Finance Corp., the agency tasked with supporting share prices, would no longer add to holdings unless there’s unusual volatility and systemic risk, although it would remain in the stock market for years to come, the regulator said on Aug. 14.

For more, read this QuickTake: China’s Managed Markets

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