The US Federal Reserve (Fed) announcement that it will continue the program of quantitative easing (QE) boosted the Asian stock market, but many now worry that this is only a temporary fix.
According to the latest figure from the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SHSE) the trading volume of ETFs in SHSE increased dramatically from the beginning of 2012 to August 2013. It is quite obvious from the data that 2013 is far larger than the figure in 2012. The lowest point from this period is April 2012, when the ETF trading volume was only CNY16.232bn; The peak was in June, 2013, with a trading volume of CNY68.712bn, which is over 4 times compared to the figure at the bottom in 2012. Besides, the aggregate trading volume for the previous 8 months is CNY449.687bn, which is far larger than the whole year figure of 2012 of CNY302.658bn. As ETFs are very important components in investors’ portfolio, we estimate that there will be more ETFs launched and the trading volume could be larger as we close out 2013 and move into 2014.
China initiated its asset securitization program in 2005 for securities companies. However, after the subprime mortgage crisis swept over the globe, regulators in China temporarily stopped the program because although it provides liquidity to markets, securitization also comes with significant risks. In 2012, the asset securitization program was initiated once again with permission from the state council and the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC). Regulations were changed to allow for more types of asset securitization and the threshold for securities companies to enter was lowered. The following report provides a summary regarding the participants, regulations and current conditions within China’s asset securitization markets.
According to the latest figures from the CSRC, the number of securities investment funds for A-share market increased from 1,173 at the end of 2012 to 1,369 by the end of July, 2013. The structure of investors in Shanghai's A-share market has long been an interesting phenomenon for Chinese A-share market as individual investors comprise the major market force, which is thought to be a sign of a immature capital market. Currently, as the number of institutional investors is growing fast, it indicates to some extent that Chinese capital market is gradually developing towards the direction of a mature capital market, at least from the investor structure perspective.
According to a 2013 publication by Goldman Sachs, there are still major differences between US and Chinese capital markets. The most prominent difference is that capital markets in the US are much larger than China’s in all sectors except for bank credit as shown in the figure below.
The Chinese banking credit sector has expanded in recent years which is now at 128% of China’s GDP compared with 48% in the US. Thus the Chinese economy is highly dependent on bank credit, which can be dangerous for the country in the coming years.
In other sectors, there are large gaps between the size of Chinese and US capital markets with the former still lagging behind the latter. Thus, there are many opportunities for China to develop its stock and fixed income markets, along with its insurance and asset management industries. Among these, the asset management industry seems to have the greatest growth potential.
On August 6, 2013, Chinese securities companies received ‘the notice of preparing the initiating stock options full simulating trading works’ sent by the Shanghai Stock Exchange. This information implies that SHSE is already fully prepared for the launching of stock options. Although there is no clear timetable for launching the stock options, it is likely that they will appear in Chinese capital markets in 2013 or 2014.
Throughout the history of capital markets in China, public listings, or IPOs in the Chinese A-share market have been suspended 8 times; we are currently in the 8th suspension period. The modern Chinese stock market is only about 23 years old and of that, IPOs have been suspended for nearly four and a half years, which makes up almost 20% of the market's history. There is still no actual timetable to reopen the IPO market, but according to some market information, it could be possible at some time in August or September, 2013.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the fundraising of PE funds in Asia continued to drop in the first half of 2013. Compared to the US and European markets, the amount of funds that Asian private equity funds raised was the smallest among the three regions, while the percentage decline is the largest. The slowing Chinese economy is thought to be one of the biggest reasons for the decline in fundraising figures as well as the IPO suspension in China; only US$16 billion in public listings were completed in the first half of 2013.
On 4 July, 2013, The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) announced that the state council of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) had approved the Treasury bond futures’ return to trading, specifically on the China Financial Futures Exchange (CFFE). Currently, the T-bond futures are under the final preparation stage and it will take approximately two months for this preparation period before they officially are released and start trading. So the most likely time for T-bond futures to be released is in early September.
As seen from the chart below, the trading volume of Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges since August, 2011, the trading volume has fluctuated in a relatively low level, compared to the previous few years’ performance. We see this being a result of retail investors' lost confidence in a stock market that hasn't performed well recently, or at least not to the same levels as a few years ago.
This may be very temporary however as a number of the recent Chinese economic announcements and regulatory changes will likely have impact on the country as a whole and more specifically in the financial sector.
Watch this space.
The latest figures showed that in the first 6 months of 2013, the amount of FDI in China increased to US$61.98bn, a 4.9% increase compared to the first 6 months in 2012. Although the future of Chinese economy is under the threat of slower GDP growth, the figure illustrates that foreign investors are still interested in China as an investment destination.
The latest figure showed that in the first 6 month, 2013, the amount of FDI in China increased to $61.98bn, a 4.9% increase compared to the first 6 months in 2012. . Although the future of Chinese economy is under the treat of slower down GDP growth rate, the figure illustrated that the foreign investors’ passion of investing in China remained at a high level in the first half of 2013.
According to SWIFT (the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication), the Chinese Yuan (or RMB)'s share of global payments hit a new record high of 0.84% in May 2013, after the total value of yuan payment around the world increased sharply by 24% last month, compared with the average growth rate of 1.9% across other currencies. SWIFT also pointed out that China yuan is still the 13th most-used currency in the international trade. The growing demand for RMB settlement will continue to increase the use of yuan in future.
Based on CSRC’s data, about 268 firms queuing for IPO in A-share markets chose to quit the IPO process up until 31 May, 2013. 109 of these firms are supported by local VCs and PEs, which take about 41% of the total number of the firms who applied for IPOs in A-share markets. About RMB 8.45 bn investments from local VCs and PEs are locked into these pre-IPO firms, which is challenging for the VC and PE firms who might have been expecting an exit.
The tough supervision of the CSRC is one of the main reasons pre-IPO firms have left the process and only very few meet the standards and of those who did, the worry is that many have cooperated with local stock investment institutions to fake their financial performances to get them listed.
A few weeks ago, we looked at the growth of wealth management in China – a big aspect of wealth management is the Trust industry, which we look at today.
Across multiple metrics, the Chinese futures market grew rapidly from 2006 to 2012. Total assets have grown by 6.5 times over the 6 years, net assets 7 fold and net profit growth by nearly 22 times in 2012 compared to 2006. So it is quite clear that Chinese futures industry is growing at a high speed during the past few years and it is highly likely to expand even faster due to the opening up of the markets.
Based on the recent half-year performance of hedge funds, it appears that the average performance of all types of hedge funds outperformed the market return significantly with macro-economic hedge funds ranked first in returns from November of 2012 to the end of April of 2013.
The latest Chinese manufacturing PMI is 50.6, declining by 0.3 point from March. From May 2012 to April 2013, this PMI figure has hovered the important line of 50 which is the watershed between economic growth and shrinkage. It signals that the growth of Chinese manufacturing economy is still fluctuating, largely because of the transformation and reformation of Chinese manufacturing industries during this period. The trend is expected to continue in the future so we will likely see continued fluctuations.
There are two main sub-industry categories that QFIIs seem to be investing in in China's A-Share market: the mechanics and food & drink manufacturing industries. During the first quarter of 2013, there was a slight decline of 1.55% in the QFII shareholdings in the mechanics manufacturing industry and a 5.78% increase in the food & drink industry.
According to the PBOC, the value of new RMB loans in the first quarter of 2013 are at a three-year high. In the first quarter of 2013, the new lending is 2.76 trillion yuan, growing by 13%, compared with 2.46 trillion yuan in the same period of 2012. It signals that the financing demands in the market start are increasing and analysts believe the total new loans will reach 9 trillion yuan in 2013. More interestingly, among the newly increased loans, 30% of the loans are long-term loans, showing a sign of a strong economic rebound in China.
Wealth management refers to a type of financial analysis, financial planning and management service that banks provide to high net worth individuals. Banks have the obligation to return certain profit by managing customers' funds in an agreed period of time.
The trust industry is currently the fastest growing segment in China's asset management industry so far in 2013. In Q4 2012, the total trust AUM was about US$1.195 trillion. At the end of Q1 2013, this number had reached about US$1.395 trillion representing a growth rate of about 16.7%. That growth rate is actually faster than the growth rate of bank loans / deposits, market growth of the securities market, bonds, funds and insurance industry.
In order to facilitate the RMB’s cross-border settlement and promote the global use of the RMB, China’s central bank (the PBOC) is now building an international payment system called as CIPS (The China International Payment System). This CIPS is expected to take one or two years to launch and will make cross-border RMB trade settlement more efficient and safer.
Kapronasia's latest report Trading China - A Look at the Issues and Opportunities in China's Capital Markets is now available in the research reports section of the Kapronasia website. The report, sponsored by Equinix, is a detailed look at the challenges and opportunities in China's capital markets. The report is free, but does require registration to download. For more information on the report, please look in the research reports section of the website above.
The Hedge Fund Association, in conjunction with Bloomberg, hosted the HFA - Bloomberg Shanghai Hedge Fund Panel Discussion: International Hedge Funds and Direct Investment in China, in Shanghai on January 5th, 2013. During the event, three experts shared their insight into the challenges and opportunities in China’s hedge fund industry in 2013. I had the opportunity to attend on behalf of Kapronasia and summarized some of my conclusions from the event here:
Margin trading is an important part of financial markets, especially for derivatives although the use of margin trading is still somewhat controversial in certain markets. In China, margin trading is relatively new and the phenomenon and behaviors observed in the markets from the use of margin trading are quite different from those of western markets. In order to better understand the markets, its worth taking some time to analyze the differences and provide suggestions to utilize the opportunities from the development of Chinese margin trading market development.
In the past we haven’t spent too much time looking at the development of China’s financial futures market, but if you were to ask any China capital markets observer what some of the most important reforms of the past few years included, the introduction of the financial futures market would be one of them.
The CSRC’s latest figures show that 57 funds obtained QFII (Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor) licenses in the first 10 months of 2012, far more than any previous year since the program’s inception in 2003. This is a positive signal that foreign investors are more keen to invest in China. Moreover, on Nov. 14th, 2012, Chinese regulators decided to expand the quota by 200 billion yuan to specifically attract RQFII investments; it is predicted that the quota will soon be used up and likely regulators will continue to increase the quota amount.
Shanghai has been authorized to become the first pilot city for a new RMB cross-border program – RQFLP (Qualified Foreign Limited Partner, RQFLP) which means offshore RMB can be raised and used for private equity investments in the Mainland. Following traditional FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) and RQFII (RMB Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors), RQFLP has become a new channel for the backflow of offshore RMB. Bank of Shanghai and the Hong Kong subsidiary of Haitong Securities (one of biggest securities in mainland China) have signed a memorandum of cooperation to be the first to issue RQFLP products in Hong Kong. The total quota is about 1 billion RMB. Bank of Shanghai will provide custody services and Haitong securities will take charge of the design and issuance of the RQFLP products in Hong Kong. After being raised in Hong Kong, these offshore RMB will enter into Shanghai for private equity investments.
Earlier this week, Burberry announced lower than expected earnings which largely disappointed and somewhat scared markets. Their slowdown is global, but a key challenge was declining luxury spend from Chinese consumers – which is seen by many as a bellwether for the rest of a general industry slowdown. We’ve talked about luxury spending in China in the past, but it’s worth considering the implications of a potential slowdown in the luxury industry and the implications if the slowdown is indeed an indicator of a shift in the habits of China’s wealthy.
On 27th July 2012, Shanghai Stock Exchange announced a guideline on measures for terminating the listings of poorly performing companies or “special treatment” (ST) companies.
According to the guideline, companies will be traded on a soon to be created new board for 30 trading days before being completely removed from the bourse. During their remaining days on the exchange, shares must trade within a required price range. The upper limit of the daily price movement is 1% while the lower limit is 5%. In addition, an investor can only buy up to 500,000 ST shares each trading day, the guideline suggested.
The new stock-delisting rules are part of broader financial reforms to China’s capital markets, in line with CSRC’s recent statement to launch an efficient system to delisted companies on the foundation of an investor-protection system. It is believed that the introduction of a delisting mechanism will lower volatility, preventing speculators from betting on dramatic fluctuations of underperforming stocks and therefore enhancing the soundness of the market.
The World Economic Outlook Update published on July 16, 2012 announced that IMF revised its forecast for China’s GDP growth rate from 8.2% to 8.0% for this year and from 8.8% to 8.5% for next year. This down-rated outlook followed the recent announcement that China’s economy had grown at only 7.6% for 2012Q2, below the target of 8%. Recent news apparently drew a pessimistic picture for investors and consumers: risk of a hard landing is heightened.
In our opinion, however, the IMF revision could be a catalyst to refuel China’s economy. In fact, many analysts hold the view that the China’s authority is likely to announce more interest rate cuts and deposit reserve ratio reductions to further bolster the credit supply and reactivate the liquidity in the economy, which are essential to promote investment. As a result, consumer confidence will be maintained for the economic growth.
BlackRock recently announced the view that emerging stock markets such as China which have underperformed till early this year, are set to take off in the second half of 2012 thanks to the strong economic growth, slowing inflation, less volatility, and cheaper valuation.
We have talked about this before, but the latest chart from Reuters / BOC HK is another indication that demand for RMB denominated bonds in HK is waning as yield is creeping up once again. This is creating a bit of a knock-on effect as the cost of financing through RMB bonds rises making traditional USD bonds more attractive. We expect this to continue for the rest of the year actually as there are no near-term events that we are expecting that would change the trajectory or somehow make RMB more attractive.
According to China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange, as of May 2012, the number of Qualified Foreign Institution Investors reached 141, and the total investment quota of QFII reached 26 billion USD. The latest news from China’s securities authorities showed that the QFII investment quota would be increased to 80 billion USD.