China Adopts an Unusual Approach to Fighting a Stock Market Crash

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Hum de hum hum. Greece is in trouble. Puerto Rico too. And don’t forget China:

Chinese shares plunged Thursday, even as Beijing grasps for solutions to stem the selling, including relaxing rules on the use of borrowed funds to invest in stocks….The Shanghai Composite closed down 3.5% while the smaller Shenzhen market was down 5.6%. The ChiNext board, composed of small-cap stocks, sank 4%. Even after losing nearly a quarter of its value from a mid-June high, China’s main stock market has almost doubled in value over the past year.

….In a rare move late Wednesday, Chinese regulators set in motion draft proposals to ease restrictions on margin lending earlier than scheduled….Regulators’ sudden shift in attitude about margin trading comes after vocal warnings about its risks in recent months. In April, regulators took various steps to rein in the practice, which had allowed investors to borrow several times their investment money.

Inscrutable, those Chinese. Their stock market is crashing so they’re promoting an increase in margin trading. That’s sort of like lighting a tree on fire when it gets dark outside and all your flashlights are dead. It’ll work. For a while. But it’s really not considered best practice.

Then again, maybe there’s something I don’t understand here. All I know is that panicky measures to halt a panic don’t usually work. And the Chinese stock market still has a long way to fall. I sure hope they figure something out.

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