A concerned Chinese investor looks at prices of shares (red for price rising and green for price falling) at a Chinese stock brokerage house on August 5, 2015.
An xin—Imagechina/AP
By Nash Jenkins
August 6, 2015

For China’s stock indices, July was the worst month in nearly six years, with shares tumbling as about a third of the country’s investors fled the already suffering markets.

August has yet to see definitive signs of recovery. For the last week, the Shanghai Composite Index has quavered between 3,610 and 3,800 points, falling 0.89% on Thursday to close at 3,661.54. Since peaking in early June at 5,166 points — its highest value in seven years — the index has taken a precipitous fall, losing 29 percent of its value in less than two months. Its smaller brother market in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen has fared no better.

Between the end of June and the end of July, more than 20 million of China’s 75 million individual investors got rid of their shares and abandoned the markets altogether, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The rout suggests that Chinese markets have little faith in the government that has frantically tried to stabilize them. Quartz reported on Thursday that in less than three weeks, Beijing spent more than $1 trillion to reinvigorate its markets, more than five times the amount doled out by the Obama administration to support ailing financial institutions during the 2008 crisis.

Some are optimistic that August’s relative stability — with no drastic market change in either direction — indicates that Beijing’s policies may at last be working, though the crisis has so far suggested that in a country where stock traders now outnumber Communist Party members, market forces might have the greatest sway.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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