A short-lived rally in Chinese stocks after Beijing’s latest attempt to shore up growth is underscoring the depth of investor pessimism toward the world’s second-largest economy.
(Bloomberg) — A short-lived rally in Chinese stocks after Beijing’s latest attempt to shore up growth is underscoring the depth of investor pessimism toward the world’s second-largest economy.
The Friday afternoon unveiling of property stimulus measures sparked an initial flurry of buying, with China’s benchmark CSI 300 Index reversing losses to climb as much as 0.3%. But the gauge resumed declines after about 10 minutes, sliding to a fresh session low before ending the day down 0.4%.
Read more: China Eases Home Purchase Rules in New Push to Boost Economy
A gauge of developers’ shares also gave up more than half of the gains spurred by the property news. Meanwhile, benchmarks in Hong Kong shrugged off a separate report by Reuters on China’s plans to cut the stamp duty on domestic stock trading by as much as 50%.
The tepid response speaks to the gloom that has gripped China’s equity market and shows once again that policymakers’ efforts to revive investor confidence are falling short. Down about 10%, an index of Chinese shares listed in Hong Kong is the world’s worst performer this month among more than 90 equity gauges tracked by Bloomberg, and overseas funds have dumped onshore stocks at a record pace.
“The market is less sensitive to news at this current stage,” said Li Fuwen, a fund manager at Guangdong Value Forest Private Securities Investment Management. “What’s key right now is letting that downward momentum run out organically as polices have already turned supportive but it will take time for the shorts to be exhausted.”
Stocks began the session with losses even as the China Securities Regulatory Commission on Thursday used a seminar with executives from the country’s pension fund, large banks and insurers to ask them to increase support for the market. The representatives of the participating financial institutions vowed to help stabilize the shares and boost economic development, according to a CSRC statement.
The meeting coincided with reported announcements by a number of brokerages Thursday to cut commissions.
Fang Xinghai, a vice chairman of the CSRC, also planned to host a meeting with some of the world’s biggest asset managers in Hong Kong on Friday, people familiar with the matter said. Fidelity International Ltd. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. were among those invited, one of the people said.
All of this comes after China took a series of steps in recent weeks to boost investor confidence, including guiding mutual funds to buy their own products and avoid dumping stocks. Authorities have also encouraged companies to step up share buybacks.
On Friday, the official Xinhua news agency reported that China is proposing that local governments can scrap a rule that disqualifies people who’ve ever had a mortgage – even if fully repaid – from being considered a first-time homebuyer in major cities.
In at least ten of the biggest cities, homebuyers with a mortgage record who don’t own a property have been subject to higher down-payment requirements and more restrictive borrowing limits. That has suppressed demand as these people have been treated as second-time buyers.
A Bloomberg gauge of Chinese property stocks rose as much as 2.3% before paring more than half the advance.
The latest move “will release some buying power but the focus still at developers’ existing debt problem,” said Steven Leung, an executive director at Uob Kay Hian Hong Kong.
The CSRC will study suggestions made by financial institutions to enhance support and conditions for pension funds, insurance funds and banks’ wealth management funds to participate in the market for the long term, the regulator said in a statement.
Authorities have held similar meetings with in recent months, including one with private fund managers last week and another with foreign asset managers. The regulator also met the state pension fund and large banks in April last year amid a rout, after which the CSI 300 lost another 5.7% before hitting a bottom.
Overseas funds, which have been fleeing the mainland market, were sellers again on Friday. They offloaded the equivalent of $10.7 billion in a 13-day run of withdrawals through Wednesday, the longest stretch since Bloomberg began tracking the data in 2016.
–With assistance from Li Liu and Abhishek Vishnoi.
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