China:The Han Bull

China“He who will not economize will have to agonize”…Great Confucius

China the mighty Han Empire based on the philosophy of Spiritual leader Confucius has emerged over the last decade as a raging bull and has stormed into the world with its unique business model.

China’s rise as the second largest economy in the world on the back of investments and consumption has been remarkable. China is not only the greatest trading power in the world but also one of the largest importers of commodities thus driving world economy. Initially driven by investments in infrastructure which might be considered as the 8th wonder of the world which includes the largest railroad of high speed trains and the tallest skyscrapers has shown the world how decisive and pro reform policies can transform a country within a decade. China has recently shown a vibrant entrepreneurship spirit and this is the bellwether of a nation which is a superpower in terms of economy and the same has been seen in India.  China is fast innovating in technology and is no longer relying on cheaper products to again competitive advantage. Xiaomi is one example. Today not only is Xiaomi the number 1 selling smart mobile phone in China and has redefined a fundamental industry through its unique distribution channel which helps it to market smart phones at unbelievably low prices with the best technology. The popularity of the product can be seen in India as it is sold within a few hours through online retailers Amazon and Flipkart.  Alibaba does more business than Amazon and will one day be the most dominant e-commerce site in the world while Apple’s huge surplus of cash is due to outsourcing of all iphones assembly to China.  China is fast innovating and has realised that it needs to change from being a low cost manufacture to create brands which known for quality and technology.

Much of achievement is due to its people and to a large extent to Chinese government which has shown a collective will (especially in the last 20 years) to implement policies for betterment of people and liberalise with pro reform policies. In terms of economic parameters and infrastructure development, Chinese government has been outstanding over the last decade. But a sense of caution here, opening up too fast is also a risk and slow and steady always wins the race and should reform in a structured manner.

China’s recent efforts to make RMB convertible is commendable as well as its emphasis to boost consumption and services rather investment. Looking at the recent turmoil in the equity markets, it will be prudent for government to reduce number of trades by retail investors as retail investors constitute 80-85% of trades while the retail participation is only 13%.

Going Forward   

China today is building some of the best educational institutes and are attracting faculty with PhDs from institutes like Columbia business school, Chicago Booth, Kellogg and many more prestigious names shows the strong foundation which China is relying on. China should focus on education and build more of these education institutes going forward.

Reforms and Suggestions in equity markets

It is very important to make stricter KYC norms i.e. Know your client regulations for clients. With my experience in private banking in India ( a country at one time very similar in capital structure although that has changed now to China and being neighbours have very similar behavioural dynamics), it is always retail clients who suffer because most have been ill informed and are manipulated by brokerages. Brokerages then play in margin funding or naked options (call options rolled over). All this is fine until markets are going up but when they turn it causes markets to fall steeply due to margin calls especially since you are not hedged. So better regulated environment like risk profile, taping of calls for clients etc will help to manage risk further and can help safeguard investor rights.

Second, is to create further diversification in wealth management products esp. in alternatives incl. structured products. This will help clients to diversify their portfolios and present more avenues to invest. Caution here since structured products are only for intelligent and savvy investors and should only be sold through top banks in China including MNC banks and not through NBFCs. In India 85% of the structured products are equity linked but China can take a call and come with more diversified array of products. This will help in to manage risk better.

Increase institutional participation in capital markets and allow pension funds to buy a part of the equities like maybe 20% of their net asset value as a permanent feature which is done in developed markets.  Increase the limit of overexposure to equities for insurance companies.

Reducing leverages for retail clients and introducing increased taxation on buy/ sell of shares to limit speculation and increasing short term capital gains.  I am not sure about taxation structure in China, but to increase long term  participation in equities, government could make long term gains tax free ( maybe one year and above)

 Han Empire

China has been an economic power over the last 1000 years and history never lies.To give a perspective China and India controlled about 60-65% of GDP just 300 years back and are one of two oldest civilizations who lived in peace and harmony with great empires like Maurya (esp. Asoka the Great), Chandragupta and Chola kingdom in India and the might Han empire (esp. emperor Han Wu), Tang and Ming dynasty for 1000 years which is unprecedented in history and will surely continue going forward. Both China and India gave the world science, greatest architectural monuments, politics and governance but most important spiritualism with great Lord Buddha, Guru Nanak , Guru Gobind Singh in India ( just to name a few) and spiritual leaders in China like Confucius and Laozi to name a few.

History shows that China has time and again reinvented itself and emerged as a global economic superpower. Han race is the largest ethnic race in the world maybe about 1.6bn people worldwide. This shows that Chinese people are adaptive and embrace change. The only thing that is constant is change and Chinese people have been according to statistics the best in terms of adapting to change. Going forward China might get old before its gets rich due to one child policy, China will surely adapt since as China grows it will ultimately attract people in China from around the world esp. people of Chinese origin.  In ten years about 100mn English speaking Chinese people will come into work force making China truly globalized in terms of attracting talent. (Since language is a prime barrier today to work in China for foreigners)

China is a long term bull and a country which built Great Wall of China, invented martial arts esp. Kung Fu, gave the world Bruce Lee (the greatest action hero of all time and a role model who will stay iconic person forever) are here to stay for a very long time and we might be leaving in an era where the next 100 years might belong to China.

As we become more globalised, a day will come hopefully in near future that nationality or religion or ideology will not matter but your talent and passion. From the Engineering talent of Germans, Creativity of British, Haute Culture of French, Endurance & Strength of Africans, Capitalism of Americans, Bullfights of Spanish, Diversity of Indians, Love of nature and mankind of Scandinavians & Canadians, Soccer of Latin Americans, Resilience & Adaptability of Chinese, Video games of Koreans,  we are truly global. As we become more global and as we assimilate among each other though marriages etc resulting in breaking barriers, we will live a more peaceful and harmonious life.

 Note:  Nishant Malhotra is MBA pass out of CEIBS, 2011 and is based in Pune, India. Nishant Malhotra has no exposure to any equity stocks in China and has not been involved in any recommendation of stocks in China as a professional. The view expressed is solely of Nishant and he has not received any funding towards the article.Whole or part replication of the above would amount to plagiarism. The article is more to do with qualitative research than fundamental research. Any disrespect for anyone is not intended and unintentional.

Please sign this petition by Malala Yousafzai

Hello Everyone

Please sign this petition by Malala Yousafzai. Malala Yousafzai is the youngest recipient of Nobel Peace Prize and her life is an inspiration for millions of people world wide. She stood up to Taliban for her fundamental right of education and survived an attack by Taliban. I am attaching the link to her petition and  her Nobel acceptance speech. So Malala go, we are with you

Curious Case of Chinese Equity Markets

The Curious Case of Chinese Equity Markets

This report is the same report which i have uploaded on my Linkedin profile ( Nishant Malhotra) and Facebook. It does not include graphs and figures since i could not upload them here. For the whole report please refer to my Linkedin or you can also like Facebook page where i also post my reports……………

Aceess the report in the link below

Curious Case of Chinese Equity Market
Premier Deng XiaopingIt doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice”
“My name is Benjamin Button, and I was born under unusual circumstances. While everyone else was aging, I was getting younger… all alone” Brad Pitt from the movie Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

China one of the oldest civilizations still exudes charm and youthful vigour seen missing among some younger civilizations.

China: The Middle Kingdom
China is the world’s second largest economy with GDP of $9.24tr. China became the world’s largest investor in 2010.1In 2014, China made USD4.9tr of total fixed investment, compared to $ 3.4tr in US and $1.1tr in Japan. China
has also been the biggest contributor to global growth contributing $0.9tr to increase in global GDP, with $0.6tr from US and $0.3tr from UK. 2China is the world’s largest importer of energy and recently overtook US as the
largest importer of crude oil. China has the highest forex reserves in the world which amount to $4.2tr and has the largest holding of US treasuries in the world.
China has over the past few years implement pro economic reforms including increasing the quota and loosening regulatory requirements for foreign investors to invest in A share market through QFII route, launching ETF and stock index futures, opening Hong Kong Shanghai stock connect to allow foreign individual investors to invest in A share market and investors from Mainland China to invest in H share market. The asset size of Chinese banking system is $23tr about three times the asset size of shadow banking in China. China is looking at allowing private capital to set up banks to make banking sector more competitive and slowly & consistently pursuing economic reforms.
1 Real value of China’s Equity Stock Market by Jennifer Carpenter, Fangzhou Lu and Robert Whitelaw

Overview of Chinese Stock Market
China opened its stock market in 1991 in Shanghai and Shenzhen and is the second highest equity exchange in the world with a market cap of $9tr before the recent equity downturn. China stock market is still young driven by retail/ individual investors who account for 80% of trading volume although retail penetration is around 13%. Institutional investors hold about 70% of tradable A share stocks while retail investors hold roughly 22% of tradable A share stocks with QFII holdings of less than 2%.
Second China’s stock market is not advanced like developed countries which rely on high speed trading in stocks, dark pool account and still order driven as compared to order or quote drive market in developed countries. On the hindsight this might be good since high speed trading might make the price discovery better but preference is always for humans to make fundamental or technical research for investing rather than rely on machines. (Matrix movie remember…machines taking over the world) … refer to Michael Lewis new book Flashpoint..Black box
China broadly equity shares trade in Shanghai stock exchange, Shenzhen stock exchange and Hong Kong stock exchange. The breakup of the two exchanges is given below. CSI 300 consists of the largest 300 stocks by market capitalization in share A class of stocks listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchange. The share A class is the largest class of shares in China and consists of the most liquid stocks. Apart from retail investors from China, even foreign intuitions can invest in these stocks through QFII (Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors) route which was launched in 2002. In 2013 China had raised the limit of quota in QFII to USD 80bn from USD 30bn. Going forward we shall be discussing CSI 300 since it is the right barometer of equity market sentiment in China.
ChiNext exchange launched in 2009 caters to small and medium companies and is very similar to NASDAQ in US. There are 464 companies listed in ChiNext which are mainly in hi tech industry. The PE ratios in Chi Next can be very high and serves as an alternate source for small companies for raising capital.

The other index where stocks from Mainland China are listed is in Hong Kong (Hang Seng index ticker HSI). They are listed in HKD. The report is going to ignore B share market. To understand correctly Mainland Chinese companies are list in A share market in Mainland China in RMB and same companies are listed in H share market in Hong Kong in HKD.

Background of Reforms and their implications in equity markets

One of the major initiatives taken by China in recent years is to allow QFII to invest in A share market. The quota of QFII was USD 80bn before recent equity market turmoil and has been increased to USD150bn. QFII comprises of more than 200 asset managers, pension funds, insurance fund houses etc. Although QFII account for less than 2% of share holding in A share market, they help in better stock coverage analysis back by years of core competency in fundamental research and risk systems and are opinion makers for Chinese investors for investing in stock market.

Introduction of ETF provided investors to take exposure to Shanghai index in a low cost way and thus fuelled increase in retail/individual participation.
Shanghai- Hong Kong Stock Connect
3According to Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited “Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect is a securities trading and clearing links programme to be developed by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEx), Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) and China Securities Depository and Clearing Corporation Limited (ChinaClear), aiming to achieve a breakthrough in mutual market access between the Mainland and Hong Kong”. The program is to allow foreign investors including investors from Hong Kong to invest in A share market. Investment in ETF, B share, bonds, REITS, Structured Products and other securities will not be included. Mainland institutional investors and those individual investors who satisfy the eligibility criteria (i.e. Individual investors who hold an aggregate balance of not less than RMB 500,000 in their securities and cash accounts) will be accepted to trade SEHK Securities through Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect. The program is bounded by quota as outlined below.
The Northbound Aggregate Quota is set at *RMB 300 billion. The Southbound Aggregate Quota is set at RMB 250 billion. The Northbound Daily Quota is set at RMB 13 billion, and the Southbound Daily Quota is set at RMB 10.5 billion.

This move is a good step forward since it would allow retail/individual investors both from Mainland China to invest in companies listed in Hong Kong which includes many global companies and foreign individual investors to invest in A share market.

Other development over the past few years has been opening up QDII (for investments abroad from China) which allows institutions to invest aboard in equities, fixed income and derivatives, introducing stock index futures etc.

*RMB is also known as Yuan and at some places i have quoted Yuan

Shadow Banking

After credit crises, stricter regulations has helped to regulated banks however shadow banking has emerged as the one of the fastest growing sectors with asset size of USD75tr. The shadow banking size is still dominated by United States and Euro area but emerging economies like China, India and Argentina are fast emerging as major growth countries for shadow banking.

Source: Financial Stability Board

What’s shadow banking?
FSB describes Shadow Banking “As credit intermediaries involving entities and activities outside of the regular banking system. Also known as market based financing helps in facilitating credit in the real economy by reaching out to especially small business in a much faster and cheaper manner when compared to banks”. Although shadow banks work like banks they are not regulated like banks and thus can become systemic risks due to their linkages with banks. Shadow banking are an important part of economy and if properly regulated can help in allocating capital in more efficient and cheaper manner.
Emergence of shadow banking in emerging economies has been very rapid especially in economies like China and India where it is not easy for small and medium enterprises to get funding. Although China has opened ChiNext to help small and medium enterprises to gain access to capital from the market, there is gap which has been used by shadow banking to grow. FSB estimated that shadow banking in China is around USD 6tr in 2013 and could be around 8tr by 2015. Shadow banking in China is simple and not financially as developed like United States and instruments in showdown banking in China includes securitised assets and derivatives. Shadow banking evolved during the 2007 crises in China as a better and faster way of providing capital to companies, infrastructure projects and real estate sector. Shadow banking was instrumental in helping China avoid recession during 2007 due to its ability to supply credit in the economy at cheaper and faster pace.
Chinese banks are state controlled and therefore need more capital and being tightly regulated loans are influenced also by Guanxi (mandarin it means social relations for facilitating businesses). It is estimated that about 50% of the shadow banking are indirectly funded by banks so they can participate in better return through its tie up with shadow banks. Due to this shadow banking in China are very interrelated although China does not have huge market of CDS (Credit Default Swap) compared to United States which resulted in a systemic risk and global meltdown (LEHMAN BROTHERS collapse triggered a spiral of collapse among financial institutions through interlinked CDS on it and the whole banking sector came down like a pack of cards. Thanks to financial innovation since CDS is supposed to diversify risk and like derivatives can also work as weapons of mass destruction). Although the shadow banking is huge, it is still a distinct second in terms of capital allocation in China to banking sector. In terms of size shadow banking is still small compared to asset size of banking sector in China

Source: China financial stability report; LCD: Large 5 commercial banks in China

Chinese banks have assets of around 150bn Yuan ( about USD23tr) while its 5 big commercial banks asset share has decreased over the years and is around 43% which is credible since they pose less of a systemic risk than about 5 years back.

Is Shadow banking a systemic risk in China?
Asset size of Chinese banks is $23tr while the size of China’s shadow banking is estimated to be around $6tr in 2013. Considering that shadow banking grew by 14% in 2014, the size in 2014 $6.84tr which is about 30% the size of assets in Chinese banks. On conservative estimates about half of this is funded by banks in China and therefore have an implicit guarantee which makes $3.4tr in unregulated market. This amounts to only 12% of the asset base of banks in China and hence is of no serious implication. Another way of looking at shadow banking would be to consider that $3.52tr is the outstanding wealth management products and even if 30% default, it amounts only $1tr which is less than $5% of assets in Chinese banks and
Moreover shadow banking is slowing down due to strict regulations enacted by the Chinese government and key steps taken by government in Rigid Redemption which we will see later “to let some wealth management products default”. The growth in wealth management products has come down drastically with the incremental money flowing into equity markets. b According to an article in WSJ, the outstanding value of shadow-banking products stood at 21.87 trillion Yuan($3.52 trillion) at the end of November, up 14.2% from the level a year earlier, according to estimates by Nomura Securities based on central-bank data. That growth is significantly slower than the 35.5% rise it registered for the whole of last year and the 33.1% gain in 2012.


Source: WSJ
On a very aggressive basis even if 30% of the wealth management products default out of $3.52tr of wealth management products which would make about $1tr. This is less than 5% of the asset size of banks in China and thus does not pose any problems since China has low debt to GDP and can easily absorb any losses.
Shadow banking is not a risk in China since China has been very proactive in tightening its grip on this sector and going forward will play a lesser role in the economy

Role of Shadow Banking in Chinese Equity Markets
Increase in risk free return: Shadow banking played a big role in development of wealth management funds since Chinese investors are limited by rates on fixed deposit which is capped around 3%. 1Wealth management products which were sold by showdown banks helped investors earn 5-7% return. Since these wealth management products were backed by banks and hence indirectly guaranteed by China, it skewed investor’s behaviour due to higher risk adjusted return basis i.e. to simply say generate a higher return for the amount of risk taken. More risk should generate higher return and hence higher risk. An implicit guarantee caused wealth management products to work like fixed deposits but generating higher return with no risk. This resulted in the risk free rate to be revised upward from 3% to 5%-7% in Mainland China. CAPM (Capital asset Pricing Model) which is used to derive the required rate of return of portfolio taking into account diversifiable risk and non diversifiable risk is used as a method of computing future cash flows of stocks.
There are primarily two exchanges in China for same large cap stocks of companies from Mainland China, the Hang Seng stock market for H Share stocks in HKD and Shanghai A share stock market in Mainland China. From 2011-2013, the Shanghai stock market traded at a discount to Hang Seng stock market due to the revised upward risk free rate in main land china. 1Since the same share is discounted at different rates (international investors discounting the Hang Seng shares while mainland investor discounting A shares) there was no change in Hang Seng shares and thus they traded at a premium to A share market in Shanghai.
One of the reasons the underperformance of Shanghai stock market during the same period was because of the revised GDP estimates given by Chinese government to target 7% GDP growth from 10% which it had achieved during the previous 15-20 years. This was due to the structural change which China adopted by moving from an investment driven economy to consumption driven backed by services sector. This built a negative perception among the investors. Moreover it is next to impossible to grow at 10% when you are a $9.4tr economy and the world was in a severe downturn….Shows the misplaced expectation among many economists……

1 Real value of China’s Equity Stock Market by Jennifer Carpenter, Fangzhou Lu and Robert Whitelaw

This was a very good and decisive move by the Chinese government to structurally change the economy since until then Chinese economy was driven by investment which had led to excessive supply in the system. This had resulted in the supply curve to be shifted above while the demand curve remained at roughly the same levels. This had resulted in decrease in price levels which would have altered the equilibrium of demand and supply and caused deflation in years to come. (This was aptly propounded by my esteemed CEIBS Prof Xu Bin who is PhD from Columbia Business School`). This was one of the fundamental reasons why Japanese economy collapsed and has remained in deflation for two decades.

Behavioural Economics 

Economics assumes that investors are rational and make rational decisions while investing in tune with Markowitz theory of portfolio management but credit crises in 2008 has proved that this is really not true. Man is not rational when investing and this is the basis of investing which is what behavioural economics follows. This is true since it has been seen time and again especially the irrational exuberance shown by investors around the world ranging from 1987 stock market crash in United States, Technology crash in 2001, LTCM crises, Credit Crises and will continue till eternity. It is not limited to investors in developed economies but globally and China is not an exception. We will come to it in a moment.
Finally the Chinese stock market to be an underperformer during this period was also the rapid proliferation of wealth management products which generated a higher return on risk adjusted basis (higher return for lower risk). This of course caused investors to divert money from the stock market to products in wealth management products since they had a guaranteed return (implicit) attached to it. This is one of the most important reasons has been in behavioural economics in China which is one of the key and fundamental reasons for panic among investors recently when equity markets fell down. @The issue has been addressed by China in Financial Stability Report in the topic titled “orderly breaking the practice of rigid redemption of wealth management products:” As discussed before products in wealth management amount $3.5tr and most of the products are invested in short term duration with higher return amounting to 5-7% to beat the interest rates in fixed deposit. Some of these products are mix of structured products and the return is not guaranteed and could depend on the performance of index. There are times when these products will not give the promised return (in the form of interest rates or principal at maturity) and hence should default. However the issuer generally banks, insurance companies and other asset managers give an implicit guarantee and step in to pay even during default.

@ China financial stability report
This problem has proliferated in China and is known as “Rigid Redemption”. The government is addressing this problem by allowing some of the products to default in an orderly manner. This is a brilliant decision since a sudden change to allow default of all products would cause panic and social unrest. It is not easy to change the mindset of people overnight but needs to done in a phased, orderly and consistent manner. China has already reengineered a process by separating wealth management department from retail department which has helped in better KYC ( know your clients) norms to be implement and investors being better aware of risks associated with wealth management products. These has resulted in investors moving away from wealth management products and moving into equities since the rally started in A share market in 2014. Moreover there have been a series of defaults especially in trust products.
b “There was a high-profile default of a wealth-management product sold through Huaxia Bank Co. in 2012, and Citic Trust Co., one of China’s largest shadow lenders, entered the spotlight in December that year after failing to pay interest and principal to investors on a trust product it sold.”
Leading portents of Behavioural Economics include economists like Dan Ariely and Richard Thaler. Richard Thaler is a professor in Chicago Business School and his new book is a highly recommended read by CEIBS Prof Frank Yu (PhD Chicago Booth Business School), a young and brilliant economist. Dan Airely in his book Predictably Irrational highlights how people misinterpret common behaviour based on existing biases.
His experience as a patient in hospital led him to first think how psychology works in real world. He experienced in hospital that when nurses quickly peeled off his bandage it hurt more rather than when the bandage was peeled off in a slow and consistent manner. This came as a surprise to nurses since they thought otherwise since a quick peel off would hurt more but for a small time. This example serves as an analogy that the idea of phased defaults in wealth management is a better way of making investors in Mainland China realise that higher returns come with higher risks for which they should not be compensated…than a sudden change which will only lead to misconception and unrest.

“The most would be to make it mandatory for all banks, asset managers and trusts who issue wealth management and give advice on investments to recruit investment managers who have proper requisite economics education and give mandatory training to its employees on basics of investing and portfolio management ( Markowitz portfolio theory etc.) Second, there should be a very strong KYC (Know your client) especially for trusts before they recommend anything to investors so they are able to communicate adequate risk return dynamics to investors”

Curious case of Chinese Stock Market: Chinese equity Markets 2014-Present 

CSI index 300 which comprises of A share stocks listed in Shanghais and Shenzhen which was one of the most undervalued index in world gave a return of 150% in one year while Chi Next gave returns of 184% with PE multiples trading at 84. However the markets started falling from 13 June and caused worldwide panic…. Let’s understand the dynamics of A share stocks…..

Comparison of proportion of tradable shares held by institutions and individual in Tradable A share market

Source: The CSRC

Institutions hold about 70% of tradable A share stock, while retail investors hold roughly 22%, QFII less than 2% and rest by domestic security funds like sovereign wealth funds. Although retail investors who have participation rate of about 13% and roughly own only 22% of stocks (little better than India which is between 8-10%) account for 78% of daily trade volume. This shows an inherent weak structure in asset management industry and structural flaws in China’s equity market.
80% of the volume trades are done by retail investors which is the reason A share market has the highest volatility among its peers at 18%1. Retail investors in China invest through banks or trusts on debt which is margin loans. These margin loans results in leverage which works fine when the markets are going up but it tumbles when the direction of market changes. The reason is margin calls i.e. like in futures market retail investors have to increase their share of investment. Just to illustrate an example
A invests 100 RMB in stock ABC. Investor A puts 50RMB of its own and borrows 50 RMB from bank for which A pays an interest. The example ignores maintenance margin to explain in simple terms while the minimum margin (amount) is 50 RMB. The example illustrates the return investor can make. If the stock moves to 120 the return for the investor is 20/50= 40% return while when the stock goes down to 80, the investor makes a loss of 40%. In a bull market a 20% return on stock can be achieved in a few trading days. In this case the leverage is 2 times so the gain or loss doubles. When the stock price goes down and the investor is not able to fund the account, the bank will sell the holdings of the investor to recuperate its loss. (Bank starts losing if the stock price goes less than 50 and will sell before this scenario. In this case even if the stock is good and with a potential upside in future would be sold. This causes the market to go down since you tend to sell good stocks along with bad ones. This works like a spiralling effect and causes panic and results in investors quitting who would otherwise would have stayed invested.
Stock ABC Investor A Bank
100 50 50
120 70 50
80 30 ( margin call to add 20) 50

In 2008 the prime reason for the markets to fall was the use of leverages which were as high as 30 to 50 times the investment. In credit crises the leverages used were with institutions while in China retail investors used leverages for investing. Retail investors tend to more panic prone since they do not have deep pockets and technical knowhow compared to institutional investors. Also another difference in credit crises was use of short term borrowing and roll over to finance long term borrowing and therefore it caused a duration mismatch and caused panic selling when short term credit was not available. a. The speculative behaviour in China is one of the highest in the world with turnover rate at 900% and 6% of the retail investors with college degree. (Prof Oliver Rui from CEIBS has published a very interesting highlighting the same but it is about ChiNext which would be a bit different CSI index).
Outlook: Equities A Share Market
China remains a long term bull with GDP growth rate of 7.1% this year and 6.9% in 2017 according to World Bank.
A fall of 40% in stock market which was at best a correction is certainly not a crisis by any standards. As The Economist mentioned the available tradable stock also known as free float is only 30% of GDP compared to developed economies which has free float around 100% of GDP. The margin loan amount to less than 5% of assets of Chinese banks is hardly a systemic risk which could include 20% of margin loans by shadow banking. Although there are linkages between banks and shadow banks, as previous discussed CDS are not so wide and relevant that they would cause havoc like they did in United States. With less than 15% of retail penetration with estimated retails investors between 90mn to 100mn, the wealth effect will hardly result in increase in consumption and a change in GDP. Moreover it seems that some retail investors lost while even lesser gained in this equity ride. The only investors who made money in the rally are banks and trusts who earned money in margin loans and brokerages that aggressively churned the portfolio and speculated on behalf of investors the portfolio. Chinese stock market is still up by 70% which is by far the best return for a major economy. 1China still remains one of the best markets in terms of alpha and is one of the lowest correlated markets globally and thus a very good index for diversification in your stock portfolio. Compared to S&P 500 which has crossed its peak of 2007 when the valuations were really high, CSI is still below its 2007 level and at PE of 17 justified compared with S&P 500 PE of 15 since most of the companies listed in US make their incremental revenue from emerging markets primarily China and India.
5Further MSCI has recently announced that it will include A shares in its global benchmark indexes. This will result in billions of dollars of investment in A shares going forward.

Moreover, one of the most important factors is that due to government strict regulations to curb shadow banking and with falling yields in wealth management products, investors started investing in Equity markets WHICH HELPED EQUITY MARKETS TO RISE in 2014-2015. This is also bringing the risk free rate lower and hence fairly valuing A share market in Mainland China.
5 Results of MSCI 2015 Market Classification Report

Performance of SSE vs HSI

Source: Google Finance; HSI in red colour
If you look at the past data and compare the spreads of SSI (Shanghai index) and HSI index, you will see that whenever the spread of SSI over HSI increases to a very high level it converges. The spreads between these two stock exchanges will always converge to average levels and hence this proves technically that the rally in A shares was not sustainable and markets have seen correction. SSI is still elevated compared to average historical levels since SSI has been undervalued for a long time.
In 2007 the Chinese stock market was trading at higher PE levels and fell much harder and it still did not result in any recession. As a matter of fact during the same time United States and Euro area were performing poorly and were in recession. Considering that both of them are biggest trading partners of China, China still grew between 7-10%. Globally the situation is much better now with both United States and Euro growing with 2-3% with much better macro outlook and therefore the downturn in the stock market is hardly going to affect China and world in general.
China still has one of the highest savings rate like India and one of the very few economies which is not living in excesses. This is a critical macro factor highlighting stability of an economy.
Going forward as Chinese equity markets become more efficient, driven by institutional trades and becomes more efficient in allocating its resources, it is going to become a very important part of Chinese economy.
The Real Value of China’s Stock Market has made a very accurate estimate that China equity markets importance going forward in Chinese and global economy.
This might be however a very good time to enter China in a phased manner to find value stocks with long term view.


Every country has a right to defend its stock market and has been done my many economies like United States in banning short sale on selective stocks during credit crises, Hong Kong successfully defending its stock market and currency peg during George Soros raid ( George Soros actually admired and congratulated Hong Kong for its intervention and defence). A lot of press coverage was devoted in the last month to Chinese government intervention in the market which as you read in my humble opinion was justified. President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang (an economist by education) are primarily responsible for economic and social stability and to steadily implement sustainable reforms. Many times it seems that any negative news is hyped and blown out of proportion coming out of Asian economies especially China and this could be because China is fast becoming a superpower and maybe people have misplaced conception about China and its economic policies. Equity market and real estate is a bellwether of country’s economic performance and crisis but only in developed economies where the free float of stock market is 100% of the GDP and stock market has a penetration of 50% and above. This is true in case of United States since any downturn would lead to a much larger spill over in banking system and reduction in wealth and consumption. However in case of developing economies like China, India or Brazil the scenario does not hold true because of limited free float and retail participation in equities.
As mentioned above Chinese stock market in terms of trade is driven by retail investors (individual investors) with only 6% of them having college education and 900% churn in stocks. ( Data for Chi Next)
If the markets in terms of trade were dominated by institutional clients then would have made sense for the markets to decide the level of stock market. However as we have seen that is not the case. Markets have always been irrational and usually very irrational investors come at the peak level of stock market and are the ones who create a lot of panic once the markets turn. Although it is not right to protect such investors but it cannot be done overnight and government in the end has to step in to avoid unrest.
Therefore it was prudent to intervene in the markets since retail or individual investors are prone to panic. On the top of that margin calls and highly speculative behaviour would have further deteriorated the market and would have fallen much more. The case of 1987 crash in US is an example. Although I do agree with Mark Mobius that the Chinese government intervened too soon given that the markets were already 150% and maybe an intervention in a phased manner would have been much better considering that even if the markets had fallen much more there would not have been any spill over effect in the economy. Chinese government came out with blazing guns in commando style and as we can see the intervention substantially calmed the markets and halted the fall in equities.
Although markets could still go down and have gone down but the process has become slow and the panic has disappeared. Reducing interest rates in China is easy since inflation is low and this gives government a lot of manoeuvre to add liquidity in the system.
Some of the measures including buying index ETF and increase QFII quota were very well thought off. Banning short selling is always good in case of panic meltdown, however it had a very limited effect in China since short selling is limited to very liquid large caps stock and it is not very easy to do the same. Temporarily banning IPOs is win-win situation for both investors and companies in such a scenario. Looking back world should look favourably at Chinese government’s intervention and maybe it could be a very well deserved case study in macroeconomics.


Rework the structure of equity markets by implementing regulations which discourage speculative trading especially by retail investors and structurally develop institutional trading through asset managers. One way is to develop mutual fund industry along with ETF. This will help increase in penetration of retail investors i.e. (Increase the breath of retail investors) while curb speculation since fund managers are better informed and educated at investing and tend to hold stocks from medium to long term. Mutual Fund industry helps to diversify portfolio by allowing retail investors to invest in more companies and limits speculative trading. Speculation in stocks never helps and long term holding in stocks should be encouraged since stock return is both a measure of dividend earned and stock appreciation. Long term holding is mutually symbiotic relationship for both the investor and the company.
“Reducing and limiting margin trading and loans for retail clients. Although the regulations especially in trading in stock futures are very strict, margin loans for equity trading should not be allowed to retail clients whose trading amount is below a permissible limit and more tuned with their education.HNI with investable surplus of USD 0.5 mn or above could be allowed margin loans for trading in shares just an example to illustrate”
Raising quota though QFII route will surely help in making the markets trading more driven by institutional investors. China can easily slowly in a sustained manner increase the QFII limit to maybe 10% since as more global asset managers come to China, so will it help the domestic asset management industry in China in terms of stock coverage, better risk and technology knowhow which would lead to better information dissemination. Even if the QFII limit is raised to 10% over a period of time it is not going
“Stricter KYC rules especially for trust accounts which sell wealth management products”
Capitalism says that markets should decide the outcome but recent history shows otherwise
Credit Crises: The damage in credit crises could have been limited had Lehman Brothers been saved. Henry Paulson regretted his decision since he presumed Lehman Brothers was not a systemic risk. Lehman crises precipitate into a global meltdown and resulted in huge tax payer’s money to bailout firms which acted in absolute greedy manner. So ultimately capitalism resulted in free lunch with billions of tax payers’ money being invested in institutions which were too big to fail.
LTCM (Long Term Capital Management) crises, a well known hedge fund which included the smartest people on Wall Street including two Nobel Laurtees Robert Merton and Myron Scholes also collapsed and its huge leverages almost brought down global markets. Since LTCM was considered a systemic risk and a timely intervention by FED and major investment banks helped precipitate crises which could have been much worse. Its story is documented in the book When Genius Failed by Roger Lowenstein.

It is not clear what is right or wrong since economics is not law of nature (apple falling down is… i.e. gravitational law) and behavioural economics is still an evolving science due to the fact that no one completely understands how a mind works. Saying that the emergence of behavioural economics as a branch of economics is very important since it helps to understand human psychology with regards to economics and the results could be amazing. When you deeply understand life and happiness you will realise that you live all your life in relative terms and not on absolute terms. Real life works in theory of relativity, what could be right in US might not be the right solution in China or any other country. Life and economics is an ever-changing flux which needs customised solutions over real time and what could be good in one country need not be the perfect solution in economic terms for another nation….
But time and again markets have shown that they are mixture of both rational and irrational behaviour. In the documentary Inside Job, it was well documented the excessive behaviour of many traders on Wall Street. A leading psychiatrist also stated that one of the worst addictions is the addiction to make money since it involves activity in the same part of the brain where usually all excess in human indulgence lie.
Problem is that it is very difficult to regulate Greed and according to Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street “Greed is Good” is the mantra in today’s world. Until we come out of this behaviour, crises are going happen again and again……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
Chinese government has been very proactive in addressing economic concerns such as shadow banking, introducing pro economic reforms in capital markets and its intervention in the market was very decisive and justified. It is very clear over the past few years that Chinese government is best aware of the situation in China rather than many asset managers and writers around the world. Hopefully the reform process will keep happening and to quote great philosopher and humanitarian Confucius “ It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop”

On a lighter note hopefully the reforms will be faster like it has been for the past few years

Curious Case of Angela Merkel:: “Love thy neighbour…An Angel…Germany! Germany!””

“When it comes to humanity, we cannot make compromises” Angela Merkel

Until recently i was not particularly a big fan of Angela especially her handling of Euro Crises and indoctrination of German principles on the rest of Europe. But in the past few weeks Angela has reinvented herself and has been a paragon of humanity worldwide.

Continue reading Curious Case of Angela Merkel:: “Love thy neighbour…An Angel…Germany! Germany!””

Hello Everyone!! Let’s begin our epic journey…….

Lord Buddha

Lets begin our epic journey by bowing to Lord Buddha ” The Enlightened One” 

Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Samma Sambuddhassa

I bow down and pay homage to the sublime, the exalted, the worthy one who has no defilements …the Supreme Self Enlightened One: Lord Buddha. 

I bow to all great saints and humanitarians who spread peace, compassion & harmony around the world.

We all live in harmony and happiness backed by economic and technological progress and start our insightful quest with an epic song my Bob Dylan……..

Blowin’ In The Wind


Enya’s song…Only Time and Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)

Let all the negativities sail away…Let all the hatred sail away….. Lets sail to happiness……….Let hatred sail away…sail away


An Epic Journey…A New Beginning…A New Lifestyle…Accept…Adapt…Reinvent…Innovate…