Shares in China fell on Wednesday morning, dragged down by consumer firms and extending blue-chip losses into a third consecutive day, amid mounting concerns over slowing domestic growth and the impact of an escalating Sino-U.S. trade war.
At the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.18 per cent at 2,716.12 points.
China's blue-chip CSI300 index was down 0.41 per cent, with its financial sector sub-index lower by 0.31 per cent, the consumer staples sector down 1.49 per cent, the real estate index down 0.64 per cent and the healthcare sub-index down 1.43 per cent.
The consumer sub-index is down 13.1 per cent so far this year, compared with an 18.7 per cent drop for the CSI300.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday repeated his threat to impose tariffs on $267 billion worth of additional Chinese imports if China retaliates for the recent levies and other measures the United States has taken in the countries' escalating trade war.
China must take strong stimulus measures to support growth, with the country in a "critical" period of stabilising its economy, according to a commentary in the Global Times, a state-backed Chinese tabloid.
Risks to the global financial system have risen over the past six months and could increase sharply if pressures in emerging markets escalate or global trade relations deteriorate further, the International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday.
But the IMF's chief economist said he was not concerned about China's ability to defend its currency.
China's yuan is forecast to pare some of its recent losses against the dollar over the coming year on hopes that risks from an escalating U.S.-China trade war and a deep sell-off in emerging markets will subside, a Reuters poll found.
The yuan was quoted at 6.9205 per U.S. dollar, 0.08 per cent firmer than the previous close of 6.926, despite the central bank setting the midpoint of the currency's daily trading band at 6.9009 per dollar, its weakest level since March 15, 2017.
Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong rose 0.44 per cent at 10,466.53, while the Hang Seng Index was up 0.43 per cent at 26,286.29.
Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.18 per cent while Japan's Nikkei index was unchanged for the day.
The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were Shenzhen Geoway Co Ltd, up 10.11 per cent, followed by Zhejiang Jinghua Laser Technology Co Ltd, gaining 10.01 per cent and Jiangsu Maysta Chemical Co Ltd, up by 10.01 per cent.
The largest percentage losses in the Shanghai index were Shanghai Lingang Holdings Co Ltd, down 10.01 per cent, followed by Sinomach Automobile Co Ltd, losing 10.01 per cent and Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical Co Ltd, down by 9.98 per cent.
So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is down 17.72 per cent, while China's H-share index is down 11.0 per cent. Shanghai stocks have declined 3.56 percent this month.
The top gainers among H-shares were ZhongAn Online P & C Insurance Co Ltd, up 3.8 per cent, followed by China Shenhua Energy Co Ltd, gaining 3.75 per cent and CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd, up by 3.27 per cent.
The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were Shenzhou International Group Holdings Ltd, which has fallen 2.12 per cent, Byd Co Ltd, which has lost 1.9 per cent and Guangdong Investment Ltd, down by 1.5 per cent.
About 7.26 billion shares have traded so far on the Shanghai exchange, roughly 64.3 per cent of the market's 30-day moving average of 11.29 billion shares a day. The volume traded was 11.68 billion as of the last full trading day.
As of 04:16 GMT, China's A-shares were trading at a premium of 22.00 per cent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares.
The Shanghai stock index is below its 50-day moving average and below its 200-day moving average.
The price-to-earnings ratio of the Shanghai index was 11.54 as of the last full trading day, while the dividend yield was 2.7 per cent.
So far this week, the market capitalisation of the Shanghai stock index has fallen by 3.54 per cent to 29.03 trillion yuan.
In Hong Kong, the sub-index of the Hang Seng index tracking energy shares rose 1 per cent while the IT sector fell 0.6 per cent.
The top gainer on Hang Seng was China Shenhua Energy Co Ltd, up 3.75 percent, while the biggest loser was Want Want China Holdings Ltd, which was down 7.03 percent.
(With inputs from agencies.)