EXCLUSIVE-China chief stock regulator Xiao Gang has offered to resign - sources

BEIJING, Jan 18 (Reuters) - China’s embattled top securities regulator has offered to resign, sources said, after perceived mismanagement wiped more than $5 trillion off the capitalization of the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets since they peaked in June 2015.

Xiao Gang, 57, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), tendered his resignation last week after his brainchild, a “circuit breaker” mechanism to limit stock market losses, was blamed for exacerbating a sharp selloff and was deactivated on Jan. 7, just three days after its introduction, a source with ties to the leadership and a financial industry source told Reuters.

It is unclear whether Xiao’s resignation offer has been accepted by the central government. The CSRC did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Xiao’s term does not formally expire until end-2018. (Reporting by Benjamin Kang Lim and Kevin Yao; Additional reporting by Winni Zhou and by Pete Sweeney in SHANGHAI; Editing by Ian Geoghegan)