Mainland Chinese shares continued to head lower on Thursday, leading the rest of Asia down as concerns over the market's steep slide spread. The benchmark Shanghai Composite was down 3.6% to 3,380.31 points despite aggressive measures by regulators such as banning big investors from selling stocks to boost the flagging market.
Chinese shares have lost more than 30% of their value in the past month. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down 0.5% to 23,369.23 in early trade. The Chinese government continued to roll out more measures on Thursday by trying to ease margin loan requirements.
The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) said it would allow financial institutions to renegotiate maturity terms regarding lending, using stock as collateral, and allow banks to ease margin requirements for borrowers.
China's inflation data for June did little to boost sentiment for investors, with the pace of consumer inflation quickening to 1.4% from a year ago, beating market expectations of 1.3%.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index was down 2.2% to 19,299.67 as investors bought the yen on concerns over China's stock market and worries over Greece's future in the Euro zone.
Investors generally buy the yen as a safe bet in times of uncertainty and turmoil. The dollar was at near a seven-week low hit against the safe-haven yen overnight at 120.815. But a stronger yen is negative for Japanese exporters, as it erodes their earnings overseas.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.9% to 5,418.00 in early trade.
South Korea's benchmark Kospi index was lower by 1.4% to 1,988.73