Shorting China dream!

Posted: January 23, 2011 in Burse, De la Forbes, Politica si politici

A trecut mai bine de un an de cand Jim Chanos, un binecunoscut shorter prezicea in cadrul unei conferinte tinute la London School of Economics ca boom-ul imobiliar chinezesc va sfarsi ca si cel din Dubai, doar ca “de 1000 de ori mai rau !”.  Creditul extrem de relaxat si investitiile expansive, spunea el, a creat o bula uriasa a pretului activelor.

Ursii sunt de parere ca faptul ca implicarea statului in economie nu este deloc un avantaj, asa cum il vad admiratorii modelului economic chinez, ci o cauza de slabiciune data de opacitatea deciziilor, de coruptie si genereaza o mare problema in alocarea capitalurilor.


Acesta este inceputul unui articol extrem de interesant al The Economist :

Aceeasi tematica si aceeasi abordare – doar ca ceva mai detaliata si mai tehnica, aveam in urma cu aproximativ un an, in materialul “Febra galbena” publicat in revista Forbes Romania sub denumirea (si cu cateva adaugiri/modificari), sub titlul “China poate reaprinde criza globala”

Ce spuneam atunci ?

Asemenea unui alergător de cursă lungă, după două decenii de creştere susţinută, economia chinezească suflă din ce în ce mai greu. Politica monetară expansivă şi programele uriaşe de investiţii în infrastructură şi construcţii au supra-turat principalul motor al economiei globale. China este sufocată de supraproducţie, ameninţată de inflaţie şi de corecţia pieţei imobiliare, şi stă sub “sabia lui Damocles” reprezentată de creditele neperformante din sistemul bancar. Aşa arată  faţa mai puţin vizibilă a singurei economii din lume, care în plină criză a reuşit să-şi accelereze ritmul de creştere până la un nivel de 11% în primul trimestru din acest an. Dar la fel de îngrijorător este că la cel mai mic semn de întrebare cu privire la veridicitatea statisticilor oficiale – în care acum pieţele se încred aproape orbeşte, s-ar putea transforma instantaneu într-o lipsă totală de încredere, declanşând o avalanşă de vânzări, ce vor trage în jos pieţele financiare din întreaga lume.

BULĂ IMOBILIARĂ? Principalul pericol vine dinspre piaţa imobiliară, unde, potrivit datelor publicate pe 11 mai de Biroul Naţional de Statistică, preţurile au crescut luna aprilie a acestui an, faţă de aceeaşi lună a anului trecut, cu 12,8% (un ritm record în ultimii cinci ani) sfidând parcă măsurile de „răcorire” a pieţei luate de Guvernul Chinez.

Principalul vinovat pentru această “explozie” fiind pachetul de măsuri de stimulare a economiei, în valoare de 586 de miliarde de dolari (adică 12% din PIB-ul pe 2009) lansat pe 9 noiembrie 2008, pentru a contrabalansa contracţia pieţelor tradiţionale de desfacere. Aproximativ o treime din aceşti bani au fost injectaţi în piaţă prin intermediul băncilor comerciale (de stat), ceea ce a dus la majorarea creditelor de la 15% la sfârşitul lui 2008, până la 33% din PIB la încheierea anului trecut.



Va propun mai jos materialul din The Economist, in intregime : ” Waiting for the great fall. Some hedge funds continue to short the China dream.

A YEAR has passed since Jim Chanos, a well-known short-seller, predicted in a speech at the London School of Economics that China’s property boom would end up like “Dubai times 1,000, or worse”. Easy credit and frenzied investment, he argued, were creating a huge bubble in the prices of property and other assets. Bears also believed that the high degree of state direction in the Chinese economy was not an advantage, as many admirers liked to imagine, but a chronic weakness that fostered opacity, corruption and the misallocation of capital. When the pessimists dreamed of China they did not see Pudong’s glittering skyline, but newly built ghost cities hidden in the hinterland and yuppies drowning in debt.

China has not plunged as Mr Chanos and a few fellow bears said it would. But he insists it has “already been a pretty good short”. Last year Chinese stocks performed poorly. The Shanghai bourse fell by about 14%. Most mainstream investors and plenty of Chinese officials also now fret about China’s ability to curb inflation and its state-controlled banks’ capacity to lend so freely while avoiding a bad-debt problem. In sum, “2010 was a year when a lot of China bears, if they weren’t totally vindicated, were given a lot of credibility,” says Jim Rickards, senior managing director of Tangent Capital, a merchant bank that advises hedge funds.

If making your mind up about whether China will get into trouble is hard, the mechanics of betting against it are tricky too. “I’ve encountered a huge amount of interest over the last year in shorting China,” says someone based in Asia who advises hedge funds on the country. But because short-selling is mostly prohibited in mainland China, it is only practical to bet against the shares of those mainland companies that are listed offshore, mainly in Hong Kong and New York.

A few bears are really betting against companies, not the wider economy. Some of the more heavily shorted Chinese stocks listed on NASDAQ, an American exchange, are considered by pessimists to have poor-quality profits and to be hard to understand. But most short-sellers have a broader horizon. One popular view is that if China’s property bubble bursts it will drive down the share prices of Hong Kong-listed property firms. Three of the ten most popular stocks to short on the Hong Kong stock-exchange are property companies, according to Data Explorers, a research and analysis firm.

Shorting the world’s big commodity firms is another obvious strategy. A recent report by Fitch, a ratings agency, estimates that if China’s growth falls to 5% this year (from the projected 10%), global commodity prices could plunge by as much as 20%. Many big Western natural-resources firms, particularly those that dig up iron ore and other metals, have come to rely on China as by far their biggest customer. Their share prices would tumble if the country’s construction and capital-expenditure boom abruptly ended. A derivative of the same trade is to short the currency of Australia, a big raw-materials supplier to China.

Other hedge funds are placing even more oblique bets. Eclectica Asset Management, a firm based in London that has launched a fund focused on China, has reportedly taken out credit-default swaps on bonds from Japanese industrial companies, which may be vulnerable to a reversal of China’s construction boom.

Overall, though, it is hard to argue that investor sentiment has shifted markedly against China. True, some bulls are becoming more cautious. This week Tim Moe, chief Asia-Pacific strategist at Goldman Sachs, said the bank had “held on too long to our overweight position in China last year”, and added that “the longer-term picture of Asia outperforming the US is taking a breather.” But total short positions on Chinese stocks listed in America or Hong Kong have not jumped in the past year and are at fairly low levels (see chart). “Mega-bears” are still a small minority. But as any short-seller will tell you, being lonely is just the precursor to being right.”

  1. Moi says:

    In Shanghai – pe “malul Bund-ului” se ridica cateva “zgarie nori” impresionante . Dar goale . Prea scump . Dupa parerea mea China este “o bula” , daca nu este tratata cu atentie se va suferi de pe seama spargerii , mai ceva decat criza actuala :

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