China has overtaken Japan as the world’s second-biggest stock market for the first time in more than three years, Bloomberg News reported.
Market capitalization in mainland China stood at US$4.48 trillion as of close Thursday after a 33 percent gain this year, while that in Japan was at US$4.46 trillion following a 3.2 percent loss since the end of December, the report said.
It marks the first time in 44 months that the Chinese market has surpassed that of Japan. In March 2011, China was briefly the second-biggest market, behind the US, as a devastating earthquake and tsunami sent shares tumbling in Tokyo.
The growth in China’s market value was helped by the resumption of initial public offerings in January, and as authorities recently gave foreign investors unprecedented access to mainland shares through the Shanghai-Hong Kong exchange link.
The Shanghai benchmark index climbed to a three-year high on Thursday amid hopes for a looser monetary policy.
China cut interest rates for the first time since 2012 last week, and economists expect further measures to shore up the economy.
Meanwhile, a weakening yen played a role in Japan’s shrinking market value in dollar terms.
The Shanghai index is up 24 percent this year through Thursday, putting it course for its steepest annual gain since 2009, the report noted.
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