Property Stocks Lead China Rally as Stimulus Measures Lift Mood

Chinese stocks jumped after the nation rolled out further property support measures, the latest in an intensifying campaign to rescue the beleaguered sector that’s been dragging down the economy.

(Bloomberg) — Chinese stocks jumped after the nation rolled out further property support measures, the latest in an intensifying campaign to rescue the beleaguered sector that’s been dragging down the economy.  

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index gained 3.2%, with property names Longfor Group Holdings Ltd. and China Resources Land Ltd. among the top performers. A Bloomberg Intelligence gauge of developer shares surged 7.2%, the most in six weeks. The CSI 300 Index of onshore China shares closed up 1.5% to add to its gains Friday, when Hong Kong’s stock market was shut due to a typhoon. 

China is taking bigger steps to showcase its policy determination after a slew of piecemeal measures to support the housing market failed to halt a slide. The latest changes included lowering the minimum down payment and easing mortgage restrictions for some homebuyers at mega-cities including Beijing. Home sales soared in the biggest cities over the weekend following the relaxation of mortgage rules, according to several local media reports Monday.

“We believe this will trigger a short-term rebound in sales among all tier-1 cities, as this unlocks some previously suppressed upgrade demand,” JPMorgan Chase & Co. analysts including Karl Chan wrote in a note. While momentum can cool afterwards, “this easing can still at least stabilize sentiment, which is an essential first step in avoiding further deterioration,” they said. 

Hopes are building that Chinese stocks are set for a more sustainable rebound after the HSCEI gauge languished as one of the world’s worst-performing indexes in August. Beijing has been rolling out new stimulus measures on an almost daily basis over the past two weeks, including the first reduction since 2008 in the stamp duty for stock trades. While not enough to dispel deeper worries over China’s structural economic slowdown, the measures have nonetheless helped lift sentiment.  

Foreign investors turned buyers of mainland shares for the first time in about a week. They added 6.9 billion yuan ($949 million) on a net basis, the most since end-July.

Saturday Sales

In Beijing, more than 1,800 units of new homes were sold on Saturday alone, more than half of the 3,100 homes in August, according to Centaline property agency analyst Zhang Dawei. Some new housing projects in Shanghai recorded the same number of transactions in just one day as they had during the previous month, according to a separate report in The Paper.

“The question is now how sustainable the buyer interest will be and how long it will last,” Zhi Wei Feng, senior analyst at Loomis Sayles Investments Asia Pte., said on Bloomberg TV, referring to the property measures. “We do not give up on hope, but don’t hope too early too much.”

READ: China Cuts Down Payment, Mortgage Rates in Stimulus Drive

Shares of Country Garden Holdings Co. soared 15%. The distressed builder has wired a coupon payment coming due on a ringgit-denominated bond, according to people familiar with the matter. For the CSI 300, energy and materials sub-indexes led the advance. 

Chinese builders’ dollar bonds rose at least 2 cents Monday morning, according to credit traders. Gains in some of the best performers pared in afternoon trade. As of 5:15 p.m., Dalian Wanda Group Co. unit’s 7.25% note due 2024 rose 2.1 cents to 64.4 cents after gaining 14 cents last week, according to Bloomberg-compiled data. 

The HSCEI gauge lost 8.2% in August, its worst monthly loss since February. Hong Kong’s stock market and schools were closed Friday as Super Typhoon Saola brought hurricane-force winds and heavy rain across the territory.

“Given that the market was closed on Friday, this is the reaction to the mortgage rate cuts announced last Thursday which may provide some support to consumer disposable income and sentiment,” said Marvin Chen, an analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence. 

–With assistance from Jeanny Yu, Wei Zhou, Dorothy Ma, Pearl Liu, Yvonne Man and Rishaad Salamat.

(An earlier verion corrected name of index in the second paragraph.)

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