(CapitalWatch, March 29, Hong Kong) Shanghai launched a two-stage lockdown to curb the rising number of Covid-19 cases Monday, closing down China's financial hub.
In response to the lockdown, the Shanghai Stock Exchange announced that it will be implementing interim measures to keep operations running. The bourse issued a notice with 30 measures addressing IPOs, underwriting, information disclosures, and bond-related businesses among other services.
The exchange had already waived relevant fees for listed companies in areas affected by recent Covid-19 outbreaks on March 16.
Under the new announcement, the exchange's Sci-Tech Innovation Board will accept applications digitally, and meetings will be held through video conferences. When it's not possible to make an on-site appointment, issuers and intermediaries can apply for online communication and consultation. Electronic signatures will now be accepted for certain documents and response time requirements were relaxed.
For affected companies, the exchange will also push deadlines for 2021 financial reports to April 30. In addition, the exchange is also working to expand its suite of technical support services for listed companies and initial public offerings
Platforms such as the Shanghai Stock Exchange Roadshow Center and a cloud docking service were expanded to hold online performance briefings where investors can tune in. It is also integrating member front-end software to make technical systems less complex.
The SSE has also launched a 24-hour support hotline and plans to fully launch online consultation and training services. It's also expanding the number of online open classes of its "Pujiang Lecture Hall" to provide more content that market participants can directly access for learning and browsing without additional registration. Additionally, investor education and publicity will be continued through social media platforms and websites like WeChat.
The exchange also said that its new online resources will work to facilitate communication with international investors to educate and address concerns about the pandemic's impacts.
For new listings, the exchange is offering free webcast listing ceremony services, and will support issuers in hosting another in-person ceremony once restrictions are lifted. It will also assist with holding online shareholder meetings for listed companies and increase technical support for online performance briefings.
Although the SSE won't be affected, economic impacts from the lockdown are weighing on global markets. Concerns over weakened Chinese oil demand caused yet another upset to crude futures. International oil prices fell around 5% Monday. Brent crude futures fell 6.8% and West Texas Intermediate futures fell around 7%. Today, Brent futures are down another 1.1% and WTI is down 1.62%.
Despite yo-yoing since Monday, the exchange hasn't sustained extreme losses. The Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite is trading down 0.33% Tuesday, and the STAR market is down 0.99%.