HONG KONG China shares posted their biggest loss in seven weeks on Monday, led by property-related sectors after mainland news reports stoked fears that banks have begun tightening loans to developers ahead of next week's annual parliamentary meetings.
The Shanghai Composite Index finished down 1.8 percent at 2,076.7 points, while the CSI300 of the largest Shanghai and Shenzhen A-shares shed 2.2 percent. For both, this was their biggest single day loss since January 6.
The Nasdaq-style ChiNext Composite Index of mainly high-tech start ups listed in Shenzhen outperformed, climbing 1.7 percent to near a record closing high.
The official Shanghai Securities News reported on Monday that Industrial Bank and other banks may have stopped extending loans to property developers and tightened lending to other property-related sectors such as steel, cement and construction.
The Shanghai property sub-index plummeted 5.4 percent in its biggest single-day loss since June 24 as Poly Real Estate plunged 8.5 percent.
Average new home prices in China's 70 major cities rose 9.6 percent in January from a year earlier, easing from the previous month's 9.9 percent rise, according to Reuters calculations based on data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Monday.
(Reporting by Clement Tan; Editing by Richard Borsuk)