Chinese shares continued to plummet for five consecutive days on Friday dampened by weak market confidence amid the global turmoil.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index shed 3.57 percent to end at 2,000.57 points. The smaller Shenzhen Component Index closed at 6,385.35 points, down 5.52 percent. The two bourses lost 12 percent this week.
China's securities regulator on Thursday said publicly-traded companies must pay dividends in cash rather than stock over three years before submitting their refinancing applications. The move was to encourage long-term investment and reduce market volatility.
The measure was unveiled one day after the central bank announced cuts in both the interest rate and reserve-requirement ratio in an effort to boost the domestic economy amid worries over the global financial crisis.
But confidence remained weak despite the government's recent measures to boost the market. Such confidence couldn't be restored overnight and would take time for the policies to take effect, said Hu Lifeng, a Yinhe Securities analyst.
China's entrepreneur confidence index, a gauge of the understanding, views and projections of business people, plunged to 123.8 points in the third quarter. That was down 11 points from the previous quarter, and down 19.2 percent from the same period last year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Friday.
Stock turmoil swept the regional markets as Tokyo dived 9.62 percent, Hong Kong slipped 8.04 percent and Singapore 6.42 percent. Thailand shares slumped more than 8 percent, and trading in the Indonesia bourse was suspended indefinitely.
China Life slipped 3.88 percent to 19.82 yuan (2.86 U.S. dollars), and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China edged down 1.48 percent to 4 yuan. Bank of Beijing rose 3.39 percent to 7.62 yuan.
Sinopec, Asia's biggest refiner, fell 3.38 percent to 9.80 yuan, although it announced on Friday it would not cash in any of the 4.335 billion of its non-tradable shares that had been freed-up.
Pharmaceutical shares rose in general as it was widely expected the on-going third plenary session of the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) would announce new policies to boost the medical and the pharmaceutical sectors. Jiuzhitang, a leading pharmaceutical company rose 6 percent.
Vice Premier Wang Qishan said on Thursday the country was fully confident and capable of overcoming the current economic difficulties, vowing to work closely with other countries to safeguard stability of the global financial market.
Wang, in his meeting with former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, said China had already taken relevant measures to face up to the turbulence of the international financial market. As the largest developing country and a rising market, its priority was to well handle its own problems.
(Xinhua News Agency October 10, 2008)