BEIJING: Chinese shares headed for their biggest weekly loss of 2017, with increased regulatory scrutiny and a crackdown on leveraged trading sapping investor sentiment. The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.2 percent as of 1:27 p.m. local time. The gauge is set for a 2.3 percent tumble this week, the most since mid-December, with mainland gauges of energy and materials companies leading the decline. Stocks that rose after China’s announcement of a new economic zone in Xiongan were among the worst performers. Hesteel Co., China Fortune Land Development Co. and Beijing Capital Co. plunged at least 21% for the week.
China’s securities regulator has stepped up criticism of what it called disruptive trading behavior, with chief Liu Shiyu saying at the weekend the nation’s bourses should punish irregularities “without mercy.” The A-share gauge has been the world’s worst-performing equity market over the past five days, with trust companies said to have been ordered to cut exposure to the property sector and the Shanghai securities regulator demanding a crackdown on illegal futures trading. “The downward trend remains intact as regulators will likely maintain their strict stance over financial scrutiny,” said Wu Kan, a Shanghai-based fund manager at Shanshan Finance Co. “The market can hardly avoid the impact from government policies.”