China Economic Review has decided that the bulls might be right, and has set up a small fund to invest in the A-share markets. The stock trading account which mirrors the fund is managed by China Securities with investment decisions being made by China Economic Review's board of advisors, usually over a flask of sake.
The fund, composed on Day One of 10,000 RMB cash, will for now invest only in A share companies – that is, stocks denominated in RMB and traded on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets.
There are any number of reasons for saying that China domestic stocks are, if anything, still over-priced. The average P/E ratios are much higher than Hong Kong; corporate transparency and corporate governance are still far from where they need to be; management is often dire, and the regulatory environment is in need of a shake-up. For too long, the government has protected entrenched state enterprise interests and delayed reforms.
But there is a clear desire on the part of foreign capital to enter the market if QFII conditions are made more attractive, and the long-suffering local day traders would surely love to leap back in if they felt a rally was sustainable.
So the Red Dragon Fund kicks off its life by investing 10% of its cash holdings in Baosteel, the bluest of blue chip Mainland stocks. It is well-run, has capitalized well on the steel boom of recent years, and is a solid base for no doubt more speculative buys in the future.
We will report back each month on how the fund is performing. Fingers crossed and incense at the ready.
This column is provided for reference purposes only and China Economic Review takes no responsibility for any investment decisions made on the basis of information or analysis in this column.