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China stocks end lower as new coronavirus cases near six-week high

SHANGHAI – Stocks ended lower on Monday in China, as the country’s new daily coronavirus cases approached a near six-week high.

** At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.49% at 2,783.05.

** The blue-chip CSI300 index was down 0.42%, with its financial sector sub-index losing 0.62%, consumer staples decliningg 0.82%, while real estate rose 0.53% and healthcare gained 0.43%.

** The smaller Shenzhen index ended down 0.8% and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was 1.375% weaker.

** China’s northeast Heilongjiang province which borders Russia has become the new battleground against the coronavirus as authorities reported the highest number of new daily cases in nearly six weeks, driven by infected travellers from overseas.

** New bank lending in China rose sharply to 2.85 trillion yuan ($405 billion) in March, with total social financing hitting a record as the central bank pumped in more liquidity and cut funding costs to support the coronavirus-ravaged economy.

** “March data demonstrated the government has been quietly loosening policy more than what it may appear by looking at the magnitude of rate and RRR cuts,” Goldman Sachs said in a research note, adding that it reflected a preference for policy flexibility amid uncertainties arising from the pandemic.

** The slump in China’s exports is expected to have extended into March while the collapse in oil prices likely deepened a decline in imports, a Reuters poll showed, as the coronavirus cripples the global economy and overall demand.

** At 07:08 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 7.0459 per U.S. dollar, 0.12% weaker than the previous close of 7.0375.

** As of 07:08 GMT, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 25.36% over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares.

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