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China expands IPO reform to help companies raise capital
  + stars: | 2023-02-01 | by ( )   time to read: +3 min
SHANGHAI, Feb 1 (Reuters) - China published draft rules on Wednesday to broaden the registration-based initial public offering (IPO) system, marking a big step towards reforming the world's second-biggest stock market. Expanding the U.S.-style IPO mechanism to all corners of China's stock market will speed up listings and corporate fundraising, as Beijing seeks to revive a COVID-ravaged economy. The fresh reform will also benefit investment banks and private equity funds, though some fear a flood of listings could drain market liquidity. The registration-based IPO system, first adopted by the tech-focused STAR Market, was later rolled out to start-up board ChiNext and the Beijing Stock Exchange. The CSRC will consolidate IPO rules for Shanghai, Shenzhen and Beijing bourses.
SHANGHAI/HONG KONG, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Chinese brokerages are in a race to raise billions of dollars in capital to meet regulatory requirements, jumping on a market upturn to bolster operations as they brace for tougher competition from Wall Street banks on their home turf. The brokerages need fresh capital to meet Chinese risk management rules, and finance capital-intensive businesses such as margin financing and market-making, having weathered volatile markets in the last couple of years. Chinese brokerages raised just 77 billion yuan via follow-up share sales last year, Refinitiv data showed. "Securities firms need capital to transform their business model by reducing reliance on traditional businesses." Chinese brokerages face stiffer competition after Beijing allowed Western banks, including Morgan Stanley (MS.N), Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and Credit Suisse (CSGN.S), to take full control of their China brokerage units.
SHANGHAI, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Schroders has obtained Chinese regulatory approval to set up a wholly-owned mutual fund unit in China, as Beijing accelerates opening up its giant financial sector to foreigners. Last month, U.S. asset manager Neuberger Berman celebrated the opening of its China retail fund business, while Fidelity International was granted a mutual fund licence in the country. Authorities have also recently allowed Canada's Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO) to take full control of its Chinese mutual fund venture. Setting up a wholly-owned retail fund business in China is testament to Schroder's long-term commitment to the country - a key component of the group's global strategy, the company said in a statement. China scrapped foreign ownership caps in its $3.7 trillion mutual fund industry in 2019, and BlackRock become the first foreign asset manager to open a fully-owned retail fund business in the country.
The jump was aided by Bridgewater China's raising of 2.7 billion yuan through a product launch in December, said the sources. Connecticut-based Bridgewater launched its first onshore China fund in 2018, and three years later its assets under management (AUM) in China exceeded 10 billion yuan, catapulting the firm past Winton and Man Group to become the biggest foreign hedge fund house in the country. By early November, Bridgewater's onshore China funds grew to roughly 19 billion yuan, Shanghai government data showed. The steady performance of Bridgewater's China funds - mainly targeting wealthy individuals - was highlighted in the hedge fund firm's sales pitch, which was seen by Reuters. Bridgewater's first China fund achieved an annualised return of 15.6% in the four years following its October 2018 launch.
More than 30 mutual funds launched this week, mostly equity-focused, offering vehicles for recovery bets. Yang Delong, chief economist at First Seafront Fund Management expects China's economic growth to exceed 5% this year as COVID curbs are scrapped. Cao Ludi, fund manager at Fullgoal Fund Management, predicts an "N-shaped" economic recovery, as an expected Spring revival in activity will likely succumb to a harsh reality check in the second quarter. She advised against chasing the high-flying real estate and tourism stocks, as their "fundamentals remain a question mark." This should mean economic recovery by the second quarter, if not earlier."
China funds with energy bets stand out in a bleak year
  + stars: | 2022-12-30 | by ( )   time to read: +3 min
SHANGHAI, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Chinese fund managers who made big bets on energy companies are celebrating a year that was brutal for many of their peers. Huang Hai, who manages three funds for Wanjia Asset Management, far outperformed the market by wagering on energy stocks such as CNOOC , China Shenhua Energy (601088.SS) and Shaanxi Coal (601225.SS). Energy companies including Shaanxi Coal, Shanxi Lu'an Environmental Energy (601699.SS), Guanghui Energy (600256.SS) and Shenhua Energy are among her fund's top 10 holdings. A Chinese index fund that tracks the Dow Jones U.S. The Lion Oil and Gas Energy Equity Fund, which invests in global energy funds under China's outbound QDII scheme, delivered a return of 53% for domestic investors.
Companies BlackRock Inc FollowHONG KONG/SHANGHAI, Dec 21 (Reuters) - China plans to tighten rules to regulate environmentally friendly, or so-called green funds, as part of its efforts to rein in 'greenwashing' in the world's second-largest climate fund market, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said. At present, China's green funds only operate within broad investment guidelines that came into effect in 2018 and do not have a mandatory labelling regime. China overtook the United States last year to become the second largest climate fund market globally after the European market, according to Morningstar, which compiles global ESG fund data. In the first nine months of this year, 43 climate-themed funds debuted in China, a 30% rise in total number of products from end-2020. AMAC's draft rules borrow from the 2021 version of China's green bond catalogue, a quasi scheme of classification, to define green assets.
SHANGHAI, Dec 19 (Reuters) - COVID-19 is sweeping through trading floors in Beijing and spreading fast in the financial hub of Shanghai, with illness and absence thinning already light trade and forcing regulators to cancel a weekly meeting vetting public share sales. Internal surveys by several big asset managers and banks suggest more than half of their employees in Beijing, the epicentre of the virus surge, have tested positive. Stock trading volume also eased last week. DISRUPTIONThe pandemic also has an impact on initial public offerings (IPOs), with the China Securities Regulatory Commission calling off a weekly meeting vetting them last week. To be sure, years of strict COVID rules have left a lot of businesses well placed to handle disruption.
China announced 10 measures on Wednesday that loosened key parts of President Xi Jinping's signature zero-COVID policy, in a dramatic pivot toward economic reopening. But concerns are increasing of a spike in infections as people scramble for cough medicines, flu drugs and masks. China's State Administration for Market Regulation admonished against price gouging in anti-COVID products, citing the need to better protect human lives and health. In a warning letter posted on Friday, the watchdog banned activities including price inflation, collusion, price discrimination, misleading propaganda and hoarding. In addition, they must not hoard anti-pandemic supplies that are in short supply, or spread word of price hikes to disrupt market order, the watchdog said.
SHANGHAI/HONG KONG, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Investors caught off-guard by China's dramatic COVID policy pivot are betting on both greed and fear as the economy starts to gradually reopen, snapping up shares in businesses from travel agencies and casinos to funeral companies. Providers of death care services, including Hong Kong-listed Fu Shou Yuan International Group (1448.HK), China's biggest cemetery operator and funeral service provider, have also drawn investors. The positioning for both the bright and dark side of China's COVID pivot reflects growing concerns from investors surprised by the rapid policy change, especially as COVID vaccination rates among the elderly remain relatively low. "But we still think that the way China can flatten the curve of new COVID cases without doubling down on tightening looks quite challenging." Morgan Stanley Chief China economist Robin Xing said China's economy may remain sluggish for another quarter or two, but growth will pick up after Spring.
FTSE Russell, Ping An jointly launch China ESG indexes
  + stars: | 2022-12-08 | by ( )   time to read: +3 min
SHANGHAI, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Global index publisher FTSE Russell and Chinese financial conglomerate Ping An announced a partnership on Thursday to promote sustainable investment, launching a series of China indexes integrating environmental, social and government (ESG) considerations. The FTSE Ping An China ESG Index Series, which combines Ping An's China-specific ESG approach into FTSE Russell's China indexes, shows how Chinese and western institutions can join hands in sustainable investment, despite tensions over sensitive areas such as human rights and Communist Party control. The initial index launch will target onshore investors, but the multi-year partnership aims to ultimately serve international investors as well, said FTSE Russell, a unit of London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG.L). "It's really about leveraging the market-specific insights" that Ping An brings, said Helena Fung, Head of Sustainable Investment, APAC at FTSE Russell. In China, however, internet censorship is not factored into ESG considerations by domestic institutions.
Many investors say that stocks of drugmakers and medical equipment companies, however, will likely get a more lasting lift from China's bumpy journey towards an eventual economic opening. Investors have snapped up Chinese tourism (.CSI930633), leisure (.CSI930654), retailing (.CSI930674) and food and beverage stocks (.CSI930653) over the past week. "After curbs are relaxed, China could experience the impact from surging virus cases, along with rising deaths, potentially hitting the economy," the brokerage said. "I think it's reasonable to think that as infections rise, they're going to have shortages in some areas of workers," he said. Grow Investment Group chief economist Hong Hao, warning of confusion and chaotic expectations ahead, recommended internet platform companies and food delivery firms in the short term.
An index tracking high-yield dollar bonds of Chinese developers (.IBXXAX13) has jumped more than 70% from its Nov. 3 low, but is still down about 70% from its peak in May, 2021. A growing list of Chinese developers have entered into or are preparing to kick-off debt restructuring talks with offshore bondholders after defaulting on payments. Of 241 dollar-denominated bonds issued by Chinese property firms, 211 are trading in distressed territory below 50 cents on the dollar, Refinitiv data shows. The recent rally in developers' shares and bonds on the back of funding support measures, however, has given investors some respite. "A recovery in property sales would be firmer in a re-opening scenario," said Justin Ong of Columbia Threadneedle, which holds China property bonds, as it would offer a clearer timeline for re-opening.
China on Friday launched its first private pension scheme in 36 cities as it grapples with a rapidly ageing population, allowing individuals to open retirement accounts at banks to buy pension products ranging from deposits to mutual funds. The move marked the official launch of China's version of IRA, or Individual Retirement Accounts in the United States, a private pension scheme that offers tax advantages for individuals saving for retirement. As part of the new system, local domestic workers covered by China's public pension insurance can participate in the private pension scheme and contribute up to 12,000 yuan ($1,680) per year to their individual accounts and receive tax benefits. Eddy Wong, chief executive of China International Fund Management (CIFM), a joint venture between JPMorgan and Shanghai International Trust Co., said China's individual pension market has "huge potential and room for development". "The first movers in China's pension market enjoy an advantage," said Howhow Zhang, Greater China wealth and asset management strategy and transactions leader at consultancy EY.
[1/2] Chinese Yuan and U.S. dollar banknotes are seen behind illuminated stock graph in this illustration taken February 10, 2020. His contract manufacturing business with Russia has been small in the past, but now he's preparing to invest in warehousing there. He sees a win-win situation in Chinese exporters reducing their currency risks and payment becoming more convenient for Russian buyers. The U.S. Treasury declined to comment on the yuan's growing presence in Russia. ($1 = 7.2074 Chinese yuan renminbi)Editing by Vidya Ranganathan and Pravin CharOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
BEIJING, Nov 25 (Reuters) - U.S. asset manager Neuberger Berman's Chinese unit said on Friday it has been granted a license by the Chinese securities regulator to conduct mutual fund business. It officially becomes the second wholly foreign-owned fund management company allowed to conduct mutual fund business in the country, the company said on its official WeChat account. BlackRock (BLK.N) already operates a fully owned mutual fund business in China. In September, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) approved Neuberger Berman to set up a wholly owned mutual fund unit in Shanghai. Reporting by Samuel Shen, Ella Cao and Twinnie Siu, Editing by Louise HeavensOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Nov 21 (Reuters) - Britain's competition regulator said on Monday it was looking into whether U.S. chipmaker Broadcom Inc's (AVGO.O) $61 billion acquisition of cloud computing company VMware Inc (VMW.N) may substantially lessen competition. The Broadcom-VMware deal, announced in May, is the second biggest globally so far this year and marks Broadcom's attempt to diversify its business into enterprise software. The companies are also seeking European Union antitrust approval. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is inviting comments from interested parties by Dec. 6 to help it with an assessment on whether to formally launch an investigation into the Broadcom-VMware deal. Reporting by Radhika Anilkumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika SyamnathOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Nov 21 (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs on Monday warned that the global equity bear market is not over as the markets are yet to see a trough in the momentum of global growth deterioration, a peak in interest rates and valuations lowered to reflect a likely recession. "We continue to think that the near-term path for equity markets is likely to be volatile and down before reaching a final trough in 2023," Goldman Sachs said in a note. The investment bank expects investors to start to price in expectations for a bull market next year. "We expect markets to transition into a 'Hope' phase of the next bull market at some point in 2023, but from a lower level." Reporting by Siddarth S in BengaluruOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
The U.S.-headquartered credit rating firm started winding down the business, Moody's Analytics, in China this week, the people said on condition of anonymity as they are not authorised to speak to media. The move, first announced internally on Monday, has affected more than 100 employees across Moody's Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen offices, one of the sources said. Total headcount for the business unit could not immediately be ascertained. Moody's credit ratings business will continue to operate in the world's second-largest economy, the source added. Reporting by Samuel Shen in Shanghai, Georgina Lee and Selena Li in Hong Kong; Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee and Edwina GibbsOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
"We deeply understand your anxiety in a volatile market," HZBank Wealth Management, a unit of Bank of Hangzhou (600926.SS), told investors in a letter on Wednesday. The Bank of China's (601988.SS) asset management unit also asked investors not to worry. Investors need faith and a serene heart," BOC Wealth Management said in a public letter to investors, suggesting clients view volatility "from a rational and long-term perspective." A slew of other asset managers that sell banks' wealth management products to risk-averse investors, including Nanyin Wealth Management and CIB Wealth Management, wrote similar letters of good cheer. Xu forecasts the end of Chinese bonds' bull market, with the 10-year yield rising to a one-year high around 3%.
More than a dozen Chinese companies have unveiled plans to follow suit, according to exchange filings. The China-Switzerland Connect allows Chinese companies to raise capital by issuing and listing GDRs on Swiss bourse SIX. Swiss firms can issue Chinese Depository Receipts on the Chinese exchanges. She said UBS is also discussing with Chinese firms about listing in Frankfurt once rules are in place, so "our GDR mandates will keep coming". Despite the brighter prospects, deal sizes have been comparatively small, with Gotion's $685 million Swiss listing the biggest so far under the Swiss connect scheme.
Analysis: China's markets clutch at economy reopening straws
  + stars: | 2022-11-04 | by ( )   time to read: +4 min
Nearly three years after the coronavirus was first detected in central China, daily cases hit a six-month high on Friday. Even the unverified social media post on Tuesday that sparked the market's exuberance said a "Reopening Committee" would not aim at relaxing the curbs before March. China stocks market cap'THE TEST OF HISTORY'But cooler heads warn that China's trajectory of COVID rule relaxation will not resemble this week's stock charts. Reopening from COVID will likely take "a steady and gradual approach", similar to China's lengthy but successful economic liberalisation, said Zhang Kaihua, a Nanjing-based hedge fund manager. Yin Peixin, investment manager at Shanghai Jianlong Asset Management Co., said: "If our leadership doesn't stick with zero-COVID, China will be thrown into a hellish condition."
Even though case numbers are rising and disruptive lockdowns continue with no clear exit strategy in sight, investors latched on to hope that China may ease its strict COVID policy in the coming months. Renewed COVID lockdowns are weighing heavily on China's business activity and consumer confidence. read moreOPEN-DOOR POLICYYi Gang, governor of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), said China will continue to deregulate its markets. While other countries have been tightening policy to battle rising prices, China has implemented an accommodative monetary policy to shore up sputtering growth, raising concerns about capital flight. With China's zero-COVID policy expected to remain in place through at least the winter, or longer, its near-term growth outlook is bleak.
China vows commitment to growth as pressure on economy mounts
  + stars: | 2022-11-02 | by ( )   time to read: +5 min
Renewed COVID lockdowns are weighing heavily on China's business activity, consumer confidence and financial markets, adding to a sharp downdraft on the global economy from surging inflation and rising interest rates. OPEN-DOOR POLICYYi Gang, governor of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), said China will continue to deregulate its markets. With China's zero-COVID policy expected to remain in place through at least the winter, or longer, its near-term growth outlook is bleak. After surprisingly high gross domestic product growth of 3.9% in the third quarter, Nomura expects growth to drop again, with zero or even negative sequential growth from the previous quarter. "We maintain our GDP growth forecast of 2.8% year-on-year for the fourth quarter with a corresponding sequential growth forecast at 0.0%."
[1/4] Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee speaks during the Global Financial Leaders Investment Summit in Hong Kong, China November 2, 2022. REUTERS/Tyrone SiuNov 2 (Reuters) - Hong Kong leader John Lee pitched the city's connection with China in an address to some of the world's top financial executives, as he pushes to rebuild the COVID-ravaged city's image as a major financial hub. Chief Executive Lee told the Hong Kong Monetary Authority's Global Financial Leaders' Investment Summit on Wednesday the city would continue working towards lifting COVID restrictions. "Hong Kong remains the only place in the world where the global advantage and the China advantage come together in a single city," Lee said. Authorities, he said, were keen for more international companies to list in Hong Kong to grow the city's capital markets activities.
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