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China's top security regulator seeks to ease volatility fears

Beijing

CHINA'S top security regulator sought to ease concerns about burgeoning stock-market volatility, after Friday's wild price swings capped the worst three-week rout for mainland equities in more than a year.

The recent gyrations were due to "external factors", but these are not the dominant elements in China's stock-market development, said Yi Huiman, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, in a speech in Beijing on Saturday. Economic fundamentals and the quality of listed companies should remain the main long-term drivers for share prices, he said.

Mr Yi's remarks are the first comments on stocks from a top-level official after the Shanghai Composite ended last week down by 4.5 per cent, even after buying from state-backed funds on Friday helped drive the index to its steepest one-day gain since March. Renewed trade tensions with the US and signs that the economic recovery remains fragile have unnerved investors.

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Even after a 10 per cent slump over the past three weeks, China has the world's best-performing major stock market this year.

Mr Yi said on Saturday that the commission is looking for ways to delist some shares, because "zombie" and "empty-shell" companies need to be resolutely removed from the market. BLOOMBERG