A leading Chinese macro hedge fund called on the government to set up a stabilization fund to buy stocks, lobbying for direct intervention the authorities have refrained from since the 2015 market crash.
(Bloomberg) — A leading Chinese macro hedge fund called on the government to set up a stabilization fund to buy stocks, lobbying for direct intervention the authorities have refrained from since the 2015 market crash.
Foreign investors have kept selling despite signs of the economy stabilizing and China-US relations improving, which could indicate that some big institutions have decided to gradually liquidate local holdings, Li Bei, founder of Shanghai Banxia Investment Management Center, wrote on Tuesday in a WeChat article that was removed the following day. Li declined to comment on the reason why the essay was deleted.
The falling stock prices would force more selling and further damage investors’ wealth and confidence, creating a “vicious cycle,” wrote Li, who manages more than 10 billion yuan ($1.4 billion). To break that, “the only way is for a stabilization fund to enter the market,” a move that would not only end the rout but make a profit for the government, she added.
The hedge fund manager adds to growing calls from economists like Zhongtai Securities Co.’s Li Xunlei, who recommended such a move last month, citing the successful example of the Hong Kong government’s defense against international speculators in 1998. The CSI 300 Index is still down 5% this year even as hopes of fresh economic stimulus bolstered stocks Wednesday. Previous measures to support growth and the property market failed to lift investor sentiment.
“The key is to break the damages asset-price declines are doing to citizens, and their confidence,” Banxia’s Li wrote.
Buying CSI 300 stocks at the current level would suggest dividends of at least 3.5%, while costs of a stabilization fund, if financed by two-year government bonds, can be around 2.3%, according to her. That suggests about 12 billion yuan of cash inflows annually for the government if 1 trillion yuan is raised for the fund, she added.
The fund could buy different values of stocks when the index is below certain levels and sell accordingly when the gauge rises above designated lines, preventing both excessive declines and overheating while making a profit, according to the article.
For any government agency that sets up the fund, that should earn them credit, Li wrote.
(Updates with details on how Li’s post was removed on WeChat in second paragraph)
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