Chinese Stocks Rebound as Traders Weigh Beijing’s Latest Signals

(Bloomberg) —

Chinese equities rebounded from an early Monday loss and sovereign bonds rallied, as investors weighed the odds for monetary policy easing against a regulatory crackdown that has roiled markets.

The benchmark CSI 300 Index rose 2.2% after erasing a decline of 1%. Consumer shares led gains, with Kweichow Moutai Co. and Wuliangye Yibin Co. adding at least 4.6%. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index also rebounded, rising 0.9%.

Trading remains volatile as investors try to price in the new reality of China’s regulatory moves, after last week’s steep declines triggered by a ban on swathes of the tutoring industry from making profits. Against that uncertainty, there are more signs of an economic slowdown, with Chinese sovereign bonds gaining on bets for policy easing.

While the government continued to tighten rules on technology firms on Friday, there have been attempts to ring-fence its clampdown, with the securities regulator meeting banks to reassure them. The Politburo meeting on Friday also signaled targeted support for the economy.

“The Politburo meeting has emphasized stability again, so the downside for stocks won’t be too large,” said Chen Shi, fund manager at Shanghai Jade Stone Investment Management Co. Investors may also find comments from the Chinese securities regulator over the need for talks with its U.S. counterpart over IPOs reassuring, Chen said.

The recent selloff prompted traders to pile a net $975 million into Chinese exchange-traded funds last week, more than all other developing nations tracked by Bloomberg combined.

Read: China Seeks More Communication With U.S. on Overseas IPOs

Infrastructure-related stocks were among top gainers on Monday, after the Politburo meeting signaled that the sale of special local government bonds will help accelerate second-half fiscal spending to support the economy. Construction shares gained, with Sany Heavy Industry Co. rising by the 10% daily limit in Shanghai.

Technology shares also rebounded, with the Hang Seng Tech Index erasing losses of much as 1.6%. In a flurry of action Friday, authorities summoned the country’s largest technology companies for a lecture on data security, vowed better oversight of overseas share listings and accused ride-hailing companies of stifling competition. Still, the gauge is down 38% from its February peak.

“We expect a longer and more profound impact from the current regulatory cycle on China’s equity market valuations,” wrote Morgan Stanley analysts including Robin Xing in a research note. “There is a substantial degree of uncertainty over what this means both for future net income margins and revenue growth for the affected sectors and stocks.”

Steel Stocks

Chinese steel stocks dropped, with some of them falling about 10% each, after a top industry body said there could be wider crude-steel output cuts as the government moves to reduce emissions in key sectors. Shares in Baoshan Iron & Steel Co., the sector’s bellwether by market value, slumped as much as 9.7%, the most since February 2020. Angang Steel Co. fell as much as 9.9% in mainland trading.

Read: China’s Top Steel Body Expects Wider Output Cuts as Demand Slows

Investors were also weighing data that showed easing economic activity in July, said Castor Pang, head of research at Core Pacific Yamaichi Intl (HK). Chinese leaders are expected to intensify policy support in the second half of the year to bolster economic growth, the China Daily said in a report, citing analysts.

A rally in China’s government bonds accelerated, as the yield on 10-year sovereign notes slid as much as 5 basis points to 2.8%, the lowest since June 2020. Futures contracts on the 10-year government bonds extended last week’s rally, rising to a fresh one-year high.

(Updates throughout)

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William Murphy

William Murphy

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