Chinese stocks decline to three-month low on manufacturing concern

China’s stocks fell, dragging the benchmark index to the lowest level in three months, after a report showed China’s manufacturing may shrink for an eighth month in June and the U.S. cut its economic growth estimates.

Jiangxi Copper Co. and China Shenhua Energy Co. the biggest copper and coal producers, declined at least 2 percent on concern demand for commodities will slow. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. and China Construction Bank Corp. fell after the 21st Century Business Herald said the four biggest lenders saw net deposits decline by a combined 460 billion yuan ($72 billion) in the first two weeks of this month.

The Shanghai Composite Index lost 35.3 points, or 1.5 percent, to 2,257.59 at 1:08 p.m., set for the lowest close since March 29 and a weekly decline as financial markets are closed tomorrow for a holiday. The CSI 300 Index slid 1.8 percent to 2,506.82. The Bloomberg China-US 55 Index, the measure of the most-traded U.S.-listed Chinese companies, fell 0.9 percent in New York.

“Investors have accepted the fact that the economy is going to be bad and stimulus measures will be slow,” said Chen Liqiu, a strategist at Jianghai Securities Co. in Shanghai. “There’s little impetus to enter the market so stocks will be dragged down in the near term.”

Concerns that a growth slowdown is deepening and Greece will leave the euro area have pushed the Shanghai index down 8.3 percent from this year’s high set on March 2. It’s up 2.6 percent for the year.

China’s manufacturing may contract in June, matching the streak during the global financial crisis in a signal the government’s stimulus has yet to reverse the economy’s slowdown.

U.S. Outlook

The 48.1 preliminary reading for a purchasing managers’ index released by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics today compares with a final 48.4 for May. A reading above 50 indicates expansion. If confirmed on July 2, it would equal the run of below-50 readings from August 2008 to March 2009.

A gauge of energy producers in the CSI 300 slid 2.8 percent, the most among 10 industry groups. The materials measure lost 2.2 percent. Shenhua Energy fell 2.1 percent to 23.43 yuan. PetroChina Co., the biggest energy producer, slumped 1.2 percent to 9.15 yuan. Jiangxi Copper declined 3.5 percent to 24.36 yuan.

The U.S. central bank cut its estimates for growth and said it sees little progress on unemployment during the rest of the year. The Federal Reserve lowered its estimate for 2012 gross domestic product growth to 1.9 percent to 2.4 percent, from 2.4 percent to 2.9 percent in April.

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