Chinese stocks collapsed Monday with Shanghai’s index posting its biggest single-day drop since 2015 — and hundreds of firms plunging the maximum 10 percent — as panic set in over China’s coronavirus epidemic.
Monday was the first time in more than a week that Chinese investors were able to react to a viral outbreak that has now killed more people than the 2002-03 SARS outbreak, and they sold frantically.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index shed 7.72 percent, or 229.92 points, to close at 2,746.61, and the Shenzhen Composite Index dropped 8.41 percent, or 147.81 points, to 1,609.00.
However, Hong Kong finished up 0.17 percent, or 44.35 points, at 26,356.98 on bargain-buying after last week’s steep losses.
The scale of the plunge in China was remarkable even by the standards of the country’s notoriously volatile markets, indicating deep concern over the economic impact of the epidemic.
The last time Chinese indices plunged as much was when an equities bubble popped in 2015.
“Investor panic quickly spread across the board and will be dominating the market over the short term,” said Yang Delong, chief economist at First Seafront Fund.
More than 2,600 stocks fell by the 10 percent daily limit, according to Bloomberg financial data.
The yuan also weakened more than 1.5 percent, falling through the key 7-per-dollar threshold.