China Now


A large drop in the Chinese stock market, a falling US dollar and good Chinese equity news should get us looking at China and the yuan.

Last week, on the anniversary of the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, Ben Bernanke said that the US recession is probably over but the economy will remain weak for some time due to unemployment.

He said, “From a technical perspective, the recession is very likely over,”  He said the consensus is the economy is growing yet added that the economy would still feel “very weak” to Americans concerned about job security.   The stock market was not impressed and Wall Street fell  lower.

According to Jyske Global Asset Management, (JGAM) retail sales jumped 2.7% in August, the fastest rise in more than 3 years, but much of the spending came from the “cash for clunkers” boost and “back to school” month related sales. They question if Bernanke is correct.

JGAM also pointed out that the US dollar continued to slide hitting a 2009 low at 1.4748 to the euro while gold rise above $1,000 oz.

JGAM’s managed portfolios have performed very well.  Year–to-date they have risen between 8.7% and 28.7% depending on the risk profile and portfolio.

What can one do?

First remember that the sun always shines somewhere as evidenced by a September 17, 2009 New York Times article entitled “Recovery Picks Up in China as U.S. Still Ails” by Keith Bradsher.

Here are some excerpts:  Investors’ interest in the real estate market is picking up as economic growth returns across the Chinese economy.

Just eight months ago, thousands of Chinese workers rioted outside factories closed by the global downturn.

Now many of those plants have reopened and are hiring again. Some executives are even struggling to find enough temporary staff to fill Christmas orders.

The image of laid-off workers here returning to jobs stands in sharp contrast to the United States, where even as the economy shows signs of improvement, the unemployment rate continues to march toward double digits.

In China, even the hardest-hit factories — those depending on exports to the United States and Europe — are starting to rehire workers. No one here is talking about a jobless recovery.

Even the real estate market is picking up. In this industrial town 90 miles northwest of Shanghai, prospective investors lined up one recent Saturday to buy apartments in the still-unfinished Rose Avenue complex. Many of them slept outside the sales office all night.

“The whole country’s economy is back on track,” said Shi Yingyi, a 34-year-old housewife who joined the throng. “I feel more confident now.”

The confidence stems from China’s three-pronged effort — a combination of stimulus, liberal bank lending and broad government support for exports.

The Chinese Central Bank said the country’s economy surged at an annualized rate of 14.9 percent in the second quarter. The United States’ economy shrank at an annual rate of 1 percent in that period.

“So often China and the U.S. are mixed together as being in the same situation, and that is totally wrong,” said Xu Xiaonian, an economist in Beijing with the China Europe International Business School.

But with more economic planning than the United States, China has been able to disburse its stimulus much faster, turning it into new rail lines and highways.

The state-controlled banking system here — which breezed through the global financial crisis with minimal losses as American financial institutions reeled — unleashed $1.2 trillion in extra lending to Chinese consumers and businesses in the first seven months of this year. That money is financing everything from a boom in car sales, up 82 percent in August from a year earlier, to frenzied factory construction.

To be sure, not all the laid off workers throughout China have been hired back.

“Some plants reduced worker numbers by 20 to 30 percent, now they hire back 10 percent,” said Stanley Lau, deputy chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, which represents export-oriented factories employing 10 million Chinese workers.

Global investors can kill two birds with one stone… invest in a faster growing economy and diversify out of the US dollar by investing in Chinese equities.

One way to invest in China is with the Jyske Invest China Equities Fund. This fund is available to non US residents and can be contained in portfolios of US residents managed by JGAM.

Jyske Invest recently wrote at its web site:

Market Comments, Q2 2009

Still signs that the economy will improve. For the second quarter, the fund generated a return of 38.01%, outperforming the benchmark by 0.21 percentage point. For the year to date, the fund posted a return of 40.71%, underperforming the benchmark by 1.38 percentage points.

Review

Over the past quarter the economic indicators continued the good trend. The PMI indicator, reflecting the general economic development, has now increased in six out of the latest seven months. When the PMI indicator is above 50, it is an indication that the economy is growing, which was the case in the past three months. The improvement of the economy has occurred earlier than expected.

Consumption indicators also show a positive trend. This is clearly reflected in the fund’s equities within consumption. Prices of several of the fund’s producers of sport equipment and cars such as China Dongxiang and Dongfeng Motor increased in particular.

There are clear indications of a turnaround in the real estate sector. The number of transactions increases sharply and the number of unsold apartments is on the decline. Our allocation to Chinese real estate companies has been high, which had a favourable impact on the relative return.

Outlook

We expect the favourable economic development to continue into the last six months of the year and that the government will continue to pursue a relaxed policy. The risk is that the policy is tightened again, which will adversely affect the equity market.
The market is no longer undervalued. Perhaps the valuation is fairer. A positive economic development and increasing earnings must drive equity prices higher now. The development in earnings estimates will be followed closely.

Jyske Invest adds that past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results. The value of and return on your investment may fall, and you may not get back the full amount invested.

The fund invests chiefly directly and indirectly in equities issued by companies which are based in China including Hong Kong or which pursue more than 50% of their activities (by sales or production) in China including Hong Kong.

Risk factors

The fund’s investments have a high risk profile and may see substantial fluctuations in the market value of the fund’s assets. The objective is to obtain a higher average return over time.

Performance of the fund for the last five years is below:

china-fund

Returns by year.

china-fund

Recent major investments.

china-fund

An ETF traded on the New York Stock Exchange that investors can use to invest in China is the SPDR S&P China Fund (symbol: GXC).  Any investors can buy this through Jyske or most stock brokers.

This fund aims to track the S&P Citigroup BMI China Index, a market capitalization weighted index that defines and measures the investable universe of publicly traded companies domiciled in China.  This is an easy way to hold the equivalent of a broad spread of Chinese shares.

Here is a chart from finance.yahoo.com showing the movement since inception of this ETF.

china-fund

For investors who want to invest in the Chinese yuan but not the Chinese stock market the WisdomTree Dreyfus Chinese Yuan Fund  Investment ETF  is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol: CYB).

This ETF  seeks to earn current income reflecting money market rates in China, as well as provide exposure to the movement of the Chinese Yuan relative to the U.S. Dollar.

For more information US investors can contact Thomas Fischer at Jyske Global Asset Management at fischer@jgam.com

Non US investors contact Rene Mathys at Jyske Bank Private Bank at mathys@jbpb.dk

Investors in China and or the yuan should exercise caution and recognize that there can be short term volatility.   There are huge amounts of borrowed dollars invested in China and any time there is a wave of fear or profit taking this thinly traded market and the yuan can drop rapidly.  For example in August 2009 18.4%, or nearly 500 billion yuan of the funds in the market were pulled as investors locked in profits on the Chinese stock market.

There had been months of gains, so the sudden pull back was not surprising as doubts about valuations and the sustainability of the economic recovery began to grow with rising prices.   Shanghai’s stock market declined 21.8% in one month.  There can be sudden and sharp pressure any time investors turn cautious.  However after a 21% drop in August September may be a better time to buy.

Gary

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Read the entire article “Recovery Picks Up in China as U.S. Still Ails” here


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