May 26, 2023
China Bulls Are Stepping Back as Stocks Witness Renewed Selloff
(Bloomberg) -- Chinese equities are losing their bullish strategist calls after a key benchmark wiped out all its gains for the year earlier this week.
Citigroup Inc.’s global allocation team cut its overweight rating on China to neutral, and Jefferies Financial Group Inc. strategist Christopher Wood reduced his overweight allocation on the market for the second time in under two weeks in the Asia Pacific ex-Japan model portfolio. He boosted weightings for India, Korea and Taiwan instead.
There’s “no sense that any large stimulus is imminent” to support the economy, Citi’s team led by Dirk Willer wrote in a note Friday.
Citi’s Willer went long China equities in early December, touting the nation’s reopening. The MSCI China Index has lost 2.5% since. Jefferies’ Wood reduced his overweight on China on May 18, and the MSCI gauge has dropped more than 5% since then.
After a rally spurred by optimism about China’s reopening, the selloff in the country’s equities has intensified this month amid disappointing economic data, an overhang of geopolitical risks and a weakening yuan. Fund allocations have gone back to October levels, and strategists’ optimistic calls are once again failing, with the CSI 300 Index having fully erased its 2023 advance on Wednesday.
The gauge lost 2.4% this week, the most since the five days ended March 10.
“Chinese growth disappointed both in terms of soft and hard data,” Willer and his team wrote. They are now also underweight European equities, citing the impact of a weaker China on the business cycle. Still, Citi hiked emerging Asia ex-China equities to neutral on expectations of tech outperformance, and upgraded US equities.
Jefferies’ Wood said other Asian stock markets, particularly India, will benefit as production moves out of China.
READ: China Warnings Flash Across Global Markets as Growth Disappoints
--With assistance from Chiranjivi Chakraborty and Ksenia Galouchko.
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