May 30, 2018 / 7:30 AM / a year ago

China stocks fall most in over two months as Italian crisis, trade war fears weigh

* Shanghai stocks lower, blue-chip CSI300 index down

* Shanghai Composite Index falls to 19-month closing low

* Gains in Shanghai stocks led by Xinjiang Sayram Modern Agriculture Co Ltd and losses by Zhejiang Zomax Transmission Co Ltd

* China’s A-shares are at 19.42 percent premium over H-shares

SHANGHAI, May 30 (Reuters) - China’s major stock indexes fell the most in more than two months on Wednesday, with the Shanghai Composite Index hitting a 19-month closing low, amid a global selloff provoked by the political crisis in Italy and renewed U.S.-China trade war fears. ** The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 2.1 percent, to 3,723.37, while the Shanghai Composite Index dropped 2.5 percent to 3,041.44 points, its lowest close since October 2016. ** Both indexes posted their biggest single-day drop since March 23. ** Around 200 stocks plunged the maximum allowed 10 percent, as investors dumped shares across the board. ** Investors fear that repeat elections in the euro zone’s third-largest economy - which could come as soon as July - may become a de-facto referendum on Italian membership of the currency bloc and the country’s role in the European Union. ** Adding to pressure were worries over trade tensions between China and the United States. ** The United States said on Tuesday that it would continue pursuing actions on trade with China, days after Washington and Beijing announced a tentative solution to their dispute and suggested that tensions had cooled. ** China’s state media on Wednesday lashed into a U.S. announcement that it would press ahead with restrictions on investment by Chinese companies, saying Beijing was ready to fight back if Washington was looking to ignite a trade war. ** Trade frictions pose a risk for China’s economy, an official from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Wednesday.

** “The U.S. persistence in pursuing trade actions against China is quite surprising after the two countries issued a joint statement (regarding trade consultations),” CITIC Securities wrote in a report. ** The short-term uncertainties would rise and sentiment in the A-share market could be curbed, the brokerage added. ** Noting the continued weakness in China’s banking shares, the brokerage said that to some extent reflected investors’ pessimistic expectations about the quality of those lenders’ assets amid credit risks in a wave of bond defaults. ** An index tracking major lenders on the mainland skid 2 percent to a 10-month low, marking its seventh straight session of fall. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 1.35 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 1.52 percent. ** At 07:00 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.4307 per U.S. dollar, 0.24 percent weaker than the previous close of 6.415. ** The largest percentage gainers on the main Shanghai Composite index were Xinjiang Sayram Modern Agriculture Co Ltd up 10.08 percent, followed by BanBao Co Ltd gaining 10.01 percent and Great-Sun Foods Co Ltd up by 10 percent. ** The largest percentage losers on the Shanghai index were Zhejiang Zomax Transmission Co Ltd down 10.04 percent, followed by Clenergy Xiamen Technology Co Ltd losing 10.03 percent and Xinjiang Bai Hua Cun Co Ltd down by 10.02 percent. ** As of 07:01 GMT, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 19.42 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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