Small-time investor Tracy Li lost more than $3,000 of her hard-earned salary from working at a bank after China’s stock market crashed last summer, wiping out trillions of dollars in valuations in just days.
A year later, and she has been burned twice, betting government intervention to prop up the market after the rout would guarantee good returns.
“Everybody was saying that the market was starting to rebound,” she said.
“I bought a stock a friend recommended to me, but now I’ve lost 35 percent of my investment this year.”
Her story is not much different from that of millions of other private investors who saw their savings go up in smoke during a year of countless government attempts to prop up the beleaguered market.
Despite Beijing’s best efforts, stock prices remain in the doldrums, with a reform agenda put on the back burner.
Sunday marks the first anniversary of the day it all began to crumble, when the Shanghai stock market — having soared in the previous 12 months — started a 40 percent slide that it is struggling to recover from.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose more than 150 percent in the year to June 12, 2015, peaking at 5,166.35 as the government loosened limits on trading with borrowed money and encouraged buying with glowing commentary in state-controlled media.
The bubble had been fueled by lax government controls and rash investors looking for a quick profit, in what analysts say is an object lesson in the risks of trying to use policy to defy market forces.
When the collapse came, it destroyed fortunes, sparked a costly state bail-out, and shattered investor sentiment.
But hard lessons were still to come.
As the market plunged, China tasked a “national team” to prop up prices by directly buying at least $236 billion worth of stocks, according to one estimate, which state-linked entities are still holding after hints they might unload them sparked renewed market panic.