China Stocks Fall Most in 4 Years as CSI 300 Enters Bear Market

China’s stocks fell the most in four years, as the CSI 300 Index entered a bear market after the central bank signaled it will maintain efforts to curb speculative lending and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said a cash squeeze is hurting growth.

China Minsheng Banking Corp. and Ping An Bank Co. plunged 10 percent, while a gauge of financial companies tumbled 7.6 percent for the biggest loss among industry groups after the People’s Bank of China said there’s a reasonable amount of liquidity in the financial system and urged banks to control risks from credit expansion. China Vanke Co. led declines for developers with an 8.8 percent slump. Jiangxi Copper Co. slid the most since 2010 as Goldman Sachs and China International Capital Corp. cut their 2013 China economic growth forecasts.

The Shanghai Composite Index declined 5.3 percent to 1,963.24 at the close, the biggest loss since Aug. 31, 2009, while the CSI 300 dropped 6.3 percent to 2,171.21, sliding 22 percent from this year’s closing high of 2,775.84 on Feb. 6. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, which entered a bear market earlier this month after falling 20 percent from a recent peak, lost 3.3 percent.

“What the market is fearing is the government and the PBOC want to really continue with the reforms and a lot of the smaller companies, smaller banks may not survive,” said Daphne Roth, Singapore-based head of Asia equity research at ABN Amro Private Bank, which oversees about $207 billion. “What is good for the economy in the longer term may not be good for the market in the shorter term.”

Banks Plunge

The nation’s equities have slumped after entering a bull market in February, with losses accelerating this month after preliminary manufacturing data showed a contraction and on concern surging money-market rates will deepen the slowdown. The Shanghai Composite has fallen 19 percent since Feb. 6.

A measure of financial stocks in the CSI 300 including banks and developers dropped 7.6 percent, the most among 10 industry groups, as the central bank signaled no relief for a cash squeeze that risks exacerbating an economic slowdown. Minsheng Banking slid 0.94 yuan percent to 8.51 yuan, while Ping An Bank dropped 1.13 yuan to 10.15 yuan.

“At present, the overall liquidity in China’s banking system is at a reasonable level, but due to many changing factors in the financial markets and also because of the mid-year point, the requirements for commercial banks in liquidity management have become higher,” the People’s Bank of China said in a statement dated June 17 and published on its website today in Beijing.

While money-market rates fell for a second day from all-time highs, the overnight repurchase rate of 6.47 percent was more than double this year’s average of 3.09 percent, according to a fixing compiled by the National Interbank Funding Center.

Goldman, CICC

Non-performing loans at small, mid-sized Chinese banks will probably rise as weaker borrowers find refinancing conditions more challenging, Moody’s Investors Service said in a report.

Property stocks slid 7.4 percent, the most among five industry groups on the Shanghai Composite. China Vanke, the biggest developer, fell 8.8 percent to 9.03 yuan, while rival Poly Real Estate Group Co. plunged 10 percent to 9.53 yuan.

“The credit crunch has worried investors,” said Jack Gong, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Orient Finance Holdings (HK) Ltd. “If the central bank really tightens credit, especially development loans, it will hurt those developers who recently actively acquired land.”

Goldman Sachs cut its 2013 economic growth forecast to 7.4 percent from 7.8 percent, Li Cui, a senior economist at the bank, wrote in a note, citing the tighter financial conditions. CICC lowered its growth estimate to 7.4 percent from 7.7 percent.

Volatility Jumps

Jiangxi Copper Co. paced declines for materials stocks, tumbling 8.2 percent to 16.11 yuan. Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. slid 7.3 percent to 3.29 yuan.

The Shanghai index is valued at 8 times projected profits, the lowest level in at least five years, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The index’s trading volumes were 11 percent above the 30-day moving average, while 30-day volatility was at 22.8, the highest level since April, the data show.

“I don’t see any reason for stocks to rise,” Xu Shengjun, analyst at Jianghai Securities Co. in Shanghai, said by phone. “Liquidity is going to be tight in China until at least mid-July, there’s expectations of new initial public offerings and the economic data doesn’t look good.”

Buy Signal

China will resume initial share sales for companies that meet certain requirements after the regulator officially releases IPO reform rules, Shanghai Securities News reported, citing unidentified industry people.

The Shanghai Composite will jump in coming months as its June slump exhausts sellers, said Tom DeMark, the creator of indicators that show turning points in securities.

The gauge will climb to 2,323 after producing a buy signal June 21 on the Combo chart, designed to identify market tops and bottoms, said DeMark, who has spent more than 40 years developing market-timing indicators.

The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese stocks in the U.S. advanced 0.9 percent on June 21.

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