Remember when China’s markets were crashing by more than 7% in a day? Officials are hoping to make that kind of extreme volatility a thing of the past.
Regulators have announced plans to introduce circuit breakers — a kind of emergency brake — on the country’s main exchanges in a bid to avoid a repeat of this summer’s crash that sent markets around the world tumbling deep into the red.
From January 1, a 5% rise or fall on the main Chinese share index will trigger a 15 minute trading halt in Shanghai and Shenzhen. A move of 7% at any time, or 5% in the last 15 minutes before markets close, will stop trading for the rest of the day, the Shanghai stock exchange said in a statement.
Circuit breakers, already used on major markets in the U.S. and elsewhere, are designed to provide a timeout, giving investors a chance to calm down.
Stocks in China climbed rapidly in the first six months of the year, before losing trillions in a spectacular crash over the summer that rippled around the world, as concerns grew over the country’s slowing economic growth.
China markets have since recovered — Shanghai stocks are now up 9% for the year. But the massive swings put the government on edge — regulators started investigating the financial industry for alleged insider trading, and reviewing ways to defend against volatility, at one point banning all new IPOs.
There are already some rules in place to curb swings — right now, any individual stock that moves up or down by 10% is automatically halted, and investors aren’t allowed to buy and sell the same block of shares on the same day.