Shanghai share plunge leads broad Asian decline

Hong Kong (AFP) - Shanghai shares on Monday suffered their biggest one-day decline in more than eight years, leading a broad Asian decline as they plummeted 8.48 percent and defied government efforts to prop up the market.

The dollar remained weak after a disappointing read on the US housing market, as investors await the US Federal Reserve's next policy meeting, while oil was also under pressure owing to a global supply glut.

Most Asian stock markets fell but Chinese shares suffered the most, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index closing down 8.48 percent, or 345.35 points, at 3,725.56.

The decline was its biggest single-day drop since February 2007, according to Bloomberg News.

Hong Kong fell 3.09 percent, or 776.55 points, to 24,351.96, while Tokyo declined 0.95 percent, or 194.43 points, to 20,350.10. Seoul gave up 0.35 percent, or 7.15 points, to 2,038.81.

However, Sydney ended higher, adding 0.43 percent on gains by retailers.

Economic data in China caused sentiment to turn, despite official efforts to support the stock market following a rout that began last month.

"Investors are not confident that the bull market will return any time soon," Jimmy Zuo, a trader at Guosen Securities, told Bloomberg.

"People want to pocket profits after the benchmark index rose past the 4,000 mark."

On Monday the government said profits of major industrial firms slipped 0.3 percent year-on-year in June, and on Friday, an independent survey of manufacturing activity came in at its weakest reading since April 2014.

Officials have unveiled a range of measures, including a police crackdown on short-selling and a six-month ban on big shareholders selling stock, to avert a slump which began in mid-June.

But stocks on the mainland nevertheless sank on Friday, and again on Monday.

"The soft industrial figure number is adding downward pressure," said Gerry Alfonso, a sales trader at Shenwan Hongyuan Group Co. in Shanghai.

Investors also took a lead from their US counterparts, who continued to cash out on Friday as data showed sales of new single-family homes fell in June and May sales were much lower than previously reported.

The news trumped forecast-busting earnings from online retailer Amazon.

The Dow fell 0.92 percent, the S&P 500 dropped 1.07 percent and the Nasdaq sank 1.12 percent.

The focus is now on the Fed's policy meeting this week. While it is not expected to raise rates immediately, dealers are hoping for some forward guidance, with most analysts tipping a rise in either September or December.

In foreign exchange markets the dollar was at 123.41 yen Monday, down from 123.81 yen in New York late Friday.

The euro changed hands at $1.1083 and 136.81 yen against $1.0977 and 135.89 yen in US trade.

Oil resumed its downtrend as demand weakens in the face of a slowing Chinese economy, weakness in Europe, oversupply and expectations of a flood of Iranian crude onto world markets.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for September delivery fell 30 cents to $47.84 and Brent crude for September was down 33 cents to $54.33 a barrel.

The weak US data lifted gold as it dampened expectations of an early US rate rise.

Gold fetched $1.096.60 an ounce compared with $1,080.17 late Friday.

The precious metal has taken a hit in recent weeks as investors look for better returns elsewhere.

In other markets:

-- Taipei ended 2.41 percent, or 211.18 points, lower at 8,556.68.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co closed 2.19 percent lower at Tw$134.0 while Formosa Plastics Corp was off 1.55 percent at Tw$69.9.

-- Wellington shed 0.38 percent, or 22.12 points, to 5,872.06.

Air New Zealand was down 0.56 percent at NZ$2.64 and Fletcher Building slipped 1.86 percent to NZ$7.90.

-- Manila lost 1.54 percent, or 118.08 points, to 7,547.44.

BDO Unibank was down 3.24 percent to 101.50 pesos, Semirara Mining and Power was down 0.83 percent to 119 pesos and Universal Robina fell 0.52 percent to 190.50 pesos.

-- Mumbai fell 1.96 percent, or 550.93 points, to end at 27,561.38 points.

Tata Steel fell 5.17 percent to 251.40 rupees, while Bajaj Auto rose 0.41 percent to 2,507.70 rupees.

-- Bangkok dropped 1.78 percent, or 25.53 points, to 1,412.55.

Siam Cement slid 1.94 percent to 506.00 baht, while oil company PTT fell 0.95 percent to 314.00 baht.

-- Kuala Lumpur key index lost 0.64 percent, or 11.00 points, to 1,709.76.

Petronas Gas fell 0.09 percent to 21.58 ringgit, Sime Darby rose 0.12 percent to 8.49 ringgit while Genting Malaysia dropped 0.94 percent to 4.21 ringgit.

-- Jakarta ended down 1.76 percent, or 85.31 points, at 4,771.29.

Indonesian financial service company Batavia Prosperindo Finance gained 1.79 percent to 570 rupiah, while Bank Negara Indonesia fell 3.00 percent to 4,850 rupiah.

-- Singapore fell 1.17 percent, or 39.23 points, to close at 3,313.42.

United Overseas Bank eased 0.94 percent to end at Sg$23.19 and property developer Capitaland tumbled 2.05 percent to Sg$3.34.

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