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China’s farm stocks defy Sino-U.S. trade rout on local demand expectations

Investors look at screens showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – The fresh escalation in the long-running Sino-U.S. trade dispute prompted a sharp selloff in Chinese markets last week with the yuan and banking and tech stocks hit particularly hard though some sectors, like farming, managed to outperform.

The market rout came after U.S. President Donald Trump raised tariffs on Chinese imports and Beijing retaliated with tariffs of its own. As result, the yuan is now off 2.5% so far this month.

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A weaker currency and trade uncertainties have intensified outflows of foreign funds from the A-share market since April.

Foreign investors are a key part of the country’s equities market, holding a total of 1.68 trillion yuan ($244.41 billion) worth of A-shares as of end-March, up from 1.15 trillion yuan at end-2018, according to latest PBOC data.

As of May 17, foreign investors via the Stock Connect had sold about 36 billion yuan worth of mainland shares in May, snapping a five-month buying streak.

Shares in the four biggest lenders have taken a beating on concerns they will be asked to lend more to prop up the growth.

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