The Chinese and U.S. stock markets are going in opposite directions, as an intensifying crackdown against leverage has slammed the recently ‘stable’ Shanghai Composite over the past week, erasing all post-Trump gains.
The relatsionship between the two markets is the weakest since August 2008 – just before the collapse of Lehman unleashed chaos on the global financial system.
Bloomberg reports that given how mainland stocks have become increasingly linked to global markets, however, the divergence may prove to be a short-term phenomenon, according to Daniel So, a strategist at CMB International Securities Ltd. in Hong Kong.
“The Chinese government is squeezing speculation out of the market and while investors adjust, it will inevitably lag behind other parts of the world,” So said.
And as we noted previously, for a market relying more on liquidity than fundamentals, China’s worsening monetary conditions index suggests tough times ahead…
China’s deleveraging drive and the renewed focus on market irregularities have put the mainland share market into a “bad mood,” but officials aren’t likely to tolerate a lot of instability ahead of the Communist Party’s twice-a-decade leadership reshuffle later this year, said George Magnus, a former adviser to UBS Group AG and current associate at the University of Oxford’s China Centre.
“The authorities are trying to calm down leverage and housing at the margin but will not go any further than the minimum necessary,” he said. “If it looks as though regulatory tightening is delivering unfavorable outcomes, and risks any form of instability, you won’t be able to say the world ‘backtrack’ fast enough.”
But, as Bloomberg details, a $1.7 trillion source of inflows into Chinese markets has suddenly switched into reverse, roiling the nation’s money management industry and sending local bonds and stocks to their biggest losses of the year. The turbulence has centered on so-called entrusted investments — funds that Chinese banks farm out to external asset managers. After years of funneling money into such investments, banks are now pulling back in response to a series of regulatory guidelines over the past three weeks that put a spotlight on the risks. Critics have blamed entrusted managers for adding leverage to China’s financial system and reducing transparency.
“We are seeing an exodus of funds,” said He Qian, a Shanghai-based portfolio manager at HFT Investment Management Co., which oversaw about 189 billion yuan ($27.5 billion) as of last year. He was one of about half-a-dozen asset managers and analysts who said banks have started scaling back their entrusted investments.
“The purpose of financial deleveraging is to reduce the probability of outbreak of systemic risks,” Shanghai Chongyang wrote.
And it;s not just stocks that are getting hit. “Banks are pulling out entrusted investments in both government bonds as well as corporate bonds,” Raymond Yeung, chief greater China economist at ANZ in Hong Kong. “That will put continued pressure on China’s yields.”