China's securities regulator unexpectedly approved 12 initial public offerings late on Wednesday, a move which could cool a blistering rally in the country's stock markets which has seen the benchmark CSI index surge over 30 percent in two weeks.
The IPO approvals, reported by state media on Thursday morning, include budget carrier Spring Airlines' 1.76 billion yuan ($285 million) listing.
The move signals the potential acceleration of the pace of IPOs in China, which would be good news for investment bankers, underwriters and the hundreds of companies queued to list.
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But it may be negative for stock indexes as analysts suspect the timing of the announcement is aimed at cooling the mainland's red-hot market.
The CSI300 index has rallied in record volume amid speculation that the central bank will further ease monetary policy to shore up the cooling economy. It rose 0.6 percent on Thursday.
That rally, which has attracted billions of fresh investor money into shares, has now given the regulator the space to accelerate the pace of IPO approval without over-diluting valuations of existing shares, especially given than many firms have seen their price-earnings valuations double in recent weeks.