A men wearing a mask walk at the Shanghai Stock Exchange building at the Pudong financial district in Shanghai, China, as the country is hit by an outbreak of a new coronavirus, February 3, 2020.
Aly Song | Reuters
BEIJING — More and more international investment analysts say it’s time to buy mainland Chinese stocks, ahead of expected government support for growth.
On top of the pandemic’s drag on the economy, heightened regulatory uncertainty since last summer has generally kept foreign investors cautious on Chinese stocks.
But that’s starting to change for some investment firms in the last several months.
In its global stock strategy report for 2022, Credit Suisse upgraded China to “overweight,” reversing a downgrade of the stocks about 12 months ago.
“Monetary policy is being eased [in China] while elsewhere it is being tightened,” its global strategist Andrew Garthwaite and his team wrote in the late January report. “Economic momentum is turning up.”
One of the early positive turns on mainland Chinese stocks came from BlackRock Investment Institute in late September. As 2022 got underway, other firms also made similar calls, while others remain neutral.
On the political front, Credit Suisse expects regulatory uncertainty to subside after a national parliamentary meeting in March, and remain muted — at least until after the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s 20th National Congress in the fourth quarter.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is widely expected to take on an unprecedented third term at the meeting, which occurs every five years to select top government leaders.
During a December economic planning meeting for 2022, Chinese officials emphasized the need for stability.
Financial factors, such as how much the stocks have fallen compared to their potential ability to deliver earnings, also contribute to analysts’ positive turn on Chinese stocks.
In January, Bernstein released a 172-page report titled “Chinese Equities: ‘Uninvestable’ No More.”
“We believe there is a case to add back China exposure to global portfolios due to six key reasons,” analysts at the investment research firm said.
They pointed to expectations for growth in new financing, easier monetary policy and more attractive stock valuations relative to the rest of the world. Other factors included a rare opportunity to pick stocks, growing foreign inflows and increased earnings.
The Shanghai composite has climbed 2% since the Lunar New Year holiday, which was from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6 this year. Those gains follow a drop of 7.65% in January, the worst month for the index since October 2018, according to Wind Information data.
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