Chinese shares recover some losses in choppy trade

Shanghai market Image copyright AFP

Chinese shares saw some choppy trade on Tuesday following steep losses a day earlier.

The Shanghai Composite index closed up 0.2% at 3,022.86, however Hong Kong's Hang Seng index reversed earlier gains to close down 0.9% at 19,711.76.

The Shanghai benchmark plunged another 5.3% on Monday after last week's sell-off rattled global markets.

China's central bank set the yuan guidance rate steady for the third day to stem currency devaluation fears.

Currency woes

Image copyright MARK RALSTON
Image caption Onshore and offshore yuan rates were on par on Tuesday for the first time since late last year

Trading of the offshore yuan also strengthened on suspected intervention by the central bank.

The Hong Kong Interbank Offered Rate (Hibor) - the rate at which banks charge each other to borrow yuan - surged to a record high for the second day on Tuesday.

The record high means the onshore and offshore yuan rates were on par for the first time since late last year.

The People's Bank of China (PBoC) is thought to be spending enormous amounts of money to buy up its currency - a move analysts say is an attempt to steady its own stock market.

The PBoC weakened the yuan last week to boost exports, which raised questions about how concerned authorities were about the health of the Chinese economy.

Analysis: Juliana Liu, Hong Kong correspondent

Financial markets in Hong Kong are legally separate from those in mainland China.

Here in Hong Kong the Chinese currency, the yuan, trades freely. And for the past few months, its value has been noticeably weaker than the yuan that trades in China itself, reflecting views among investors about the weakness of the Chinese economy.

But this week, the yuan has been in short supply, driving the cost of borrowing it to a record high in Hong Kong. Many believe China's central bank is behind the shortage.

The goal, analysts say, is to send a strong message of stability to investors at home and abroad.

Asia trades lower

Trading in the rest of the region remained cautious.

"A lot of the long-term concerns around China have still not dissipated," said Angus Nicholson, market analyst at trading firm IG in a note.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index finished down 2.7% to 17,218.96. The market was playing catch-up with the losses on global markets after being closed on Monday for a public holiday.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index closed down 0.1% to 4,925.10, while South Korea's Kospi index ended lower by 0.2% to 1,890.86, reversing earlier gains.

Meanwhile, shares in Sharp fell 1.8% after local media reported that a government-backed fund had offered to invest 200bn yen ($1.7bn; £1.2bn) to help bail out the struggling electronics maker.

Reports also said that a $3bn restructuring plan for the firm was likely to be finalised as early as this week.

Oil prices hovering near 12-year lows, sent shares in resources-linked shares lower.

Mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto shares were down another 3.5% and 3.3% respectively in Sydney.

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