As China’s Economy Falters, Some Fund Managers Look To Bonds | 10/8/2018 | Staff
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HONG KONG/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Despite mounting signs of a Chinese economic slowdown, 2019 is off to a good start for fund manager Du Zhenye.

His Shanghai-based ChangAn Xinyi Enhanced Mixed Fund has increased its assets over the past two weeks by shunning Chinese stocks for bonds. And it was the best-performing of nearly 3,000 mixed funds ranked by Haitong Securities for 2018, returning more than 14 percent.

Bottom - Stock - Market - Du

“I don’t dare say it’s already the bottom of the stock market,” Du said.

He’s not alone in favoring Chinese bonds over equities. Slowing growth signals an earnings slump after a brutal 2018, when the Shanghai Composite index tumbled 25 percent.

Bonds - Shine - Policymakers - Slowdown - Stimulus

For some, bonds retain a shine as policymakers combat the slowdown with more stimulus. The phased inclusion of some Chinese bonds in global indexes starting this year also should draw inflows.

“We believe this year will be another bullish one for bonds,” said Du.

Shanghai - Consultancy - Z-Ben - Advisors - Assets

According to Shanghai consultancy Z-Ben Advisors, assets under management (AUM) at domestic equity mutual funds shrank 12 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier to 194 billion yuan ($28.62 billion) while fixed income funds expanded 20 percent to 3 trillion yuan.

That was one factor driving yields on benchmark 10-year Chinese government bonds down nearly 40 basis points in the quarter.

Policy - Yields - Gains - Bondholders

More policy easing could further cut yields, implying more gains for bondholders.

On Monday, China reported 2018 growth was the slowest in 28 years, at 6.6 percent. Beijing will reduce its 2019 full-year growth target to 6-6.5 percent, from around 6.5 percent last year, sources have told Reuters.

Authorities - Stimulus - Growth - Cash - Banking

While authorities rule out “flood-type stimulus” to juice growth, they have pumped cash into the banking system to boost lending. China made a cut to banks’ reserve requirement ratios this month, and more is promised.

Josh Sheng, chief investment officer at Shanghai Tongshengtonghui Asset Management, says fresh...
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