Chinese stocks may open higher after authorities sought to woo back investors with a slew of measures including a reduction of the stamp duty on stock trades and a slower pace of initial public offerings.
(Bloomberg) — Chinese stocks may open higher after authorities sought to woo back investors with a slew of measures including a reduction of the stamp duty on stock trades and a slower pace of initial public offerings.
The levy charged on stock trades will drop from 0.1% to 0.05% as of Aug. 28, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement Sunday, in a move to “invigorate capital markets and boost investor confidence.” The reduction is the first since 2008.
The China Securities Regulatory Commission also stated it will slow the pace of IPOs citing “recent market conditions,” without giving details on how it would do so. The CSRC said restrictions will be set on the frequency and size of refinancing for companies which continuously report financial losses and whose stock prices have fallen below IPO levels or net asset levels.
Regulators also restricted share sales by top stakeholders at firms whose stock prices have fallen below IPO levels or net asset levels and lowered margin ratios for leveraged trades, moves that investors said were a surprise.
“The scale, force and speed of the measures all beat expectations,” China International Capital Corp. analysts including Pu Han wrote in a note. “The increasing force of the policy tools will lift market confidence, amplifying the positive signal for the market.”
Traders said the measures announced in the latest round may have a shot at giving the markets a boost, though questions remain on how long it will last. Authorities have been trying to dispel worries about the economy triggered by a slumping property market and weak consumer spending. Foreign investors sold mainland China stocks on a net basis for 13 consecutive sessions through Wednesday, the longest stretch ever, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
China last cut the stamp duty in April 2008, reducing it to 0.1% to support the market after a plunge, spurring a bull run the following year. The year prior, in May 2007, it raised the rate to 0.3% to cool a rally that was drawing more than 300,000 new investors a day. On the session following the 2008 cut, the Shanghai Composite rallied 9.3%.
The raft of changes this time are expected to bring the equivalent of 750 billion yuan ($103 billion) of new funds into the market per year, according to estimates from Huatai Securities. “New restrictions on share sales in effect keep around 250 billion yuan of funds from selling, and bring the strongest benefit to liquidity” among the measures, wrote analysts including Wang Yi.
The market response to stimulus measures has become increasingly muted in the latest rout, underscoring deep pessimism among investors. The Friday afternoon unveiling of property stimulus measures sparked an initial flurry of buying, with China’s benchmark CSI 300 Index reversing losses. But the gauge resumed declines after about 10 minutes before ending the day down 0.4%.
The CSI 300 Index has declined about 4% in 2023 after back-to-back annual losses and is underperforming a broader gauge of Asian equities by about six percentage points. Authorities this month urged pension funds, large banks and other big domestic financial institutions to increase stock investments to support the market.
Regulators have also cut handling fees on stock transactions, prodded mutual fund managers to increase purchases of their own equity funds and encouraged companies to do more share buybacks. However such guidance in past weeks was not enough to lift risk appetite, with the Shanghai Composite falling towards oversold levels.
“We expect a rally this week, maybe to a less degree than those after China lowered stamp duty in 2008,” said Neo Wang, Evercore ISI’s New York-based managing director for China Research. Wang added that a turnaround in the A-share market would not happen unless Beijing adopts more “bazooka” measures, such as the 4 trillion yuan stimulus package it rolled out in 2008.
–With assistance from Jacob Gu and Janet Paskin.
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