China shares underperform Asia, ChiNext hits record high

HONG KONG Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:07am EST

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HONG KONG Jan 15 (Reuters) - China shares underperformed most of Asia on Wednesday after weaker-than-expected money supply and loan growth data fanned concerns about tightening liquidity in the mainland, accelerating a shift into small-cap stocks.

The CSI300 of the biggest Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings ended down 0.2 percent, as did the Shanghai Composite Index, which finished at 2,023.3 points.

The ChiNext Composite Index of mainly startups in technology and other nascent industries listed in Shenzhen climbed 1.3 percent to a record high.

Chinese banks made 482.5 billion yuan ($79.9 billion) worth of new yuan loans in December, lower than a forecast of 600 billion yuan and below the previous month's 624.6 billion yuan, central bank data showed on Wednesday.

The data added to fears of further cash squeezes in the country's money markets after regulators announced the resumption of initial public offerings.

With more than 700 IPO applications filed and about 50 approved so far, investors frown at the prospect of increased competition for limited funds as new offerings resume after a halt of more than a year. (Reporting by Clement Tan; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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