Foreign Investors Keep Buying Chinese Stocks as Markets Go Wild

(Bloomberg) -- Slumping stocks and market volatility aren’t holding back foreign investors from snapping up Chinese shares.

Foreign investors bought net 20 billion yuan ($2.9 billion) mainland shares through Hong Kong links from July 25 through Wednesday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In that time the Shanghai Composite Index tumbled to a two and a half-year low before enjoying its best day in two years, whipsawing between gains and losses to send its volatility higher. The daily quota usage on Thursday reached the highest since early June, when A-shares had recently been included in MSCI Inc.’s benchmark gauges.

"Foreign investors’ buying remains very robust despite the weak performance this year -- many of them are long-term institutional funds," said Steven Leung, executive director at Uob Kay Hian (Hong Kong) Ltd. "They’re not so pessimistic about China’s economic growth in the longer term. There’s also a consensus that MSCI would continue to add to its weighting of A-shares, so some investors would take the market rout as an opportunity to add."

Foreign Investors Keep Buying Chinese Stocks as Markets Go Wild

Concerns over China’s economic slowdown, an escalating trade dispute with the U.S. and a weakening yuan have sapped sentiment in mainland markets, where domestic retail investors dominate. The Shanghai gauge has dropped 16 percent year-to-date to become one of the worst performers in the world, yet foreign investors have purchased some 200 billion yuan of stocks. The average daily net purchase this year is about 60 percent higher than the same period in 2017, according to data on quota usage. Shares surged on Thursday on news regulators plan to further open the stock market to foreign investors.

Southbound flows have not reciprocated though. Mainland investors pulled out net HK$7.5 billion ($955 million) last week out of Hong Kong stocks through the same links, the third-biggest weekly total on record.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.