Monthly Archives: February 2017

China Bank Rally Takes A Breather

After a series of moves and reviews, the big 5 Chinese banks blasted upwards in February, outpacing the rocketing Hang Seng.  Over the past couple of days, however, they’ve retrenched.   If Morgan Stanley and Short trading interest are to be believed, this is a temporary reversal.

The banks include:

Name Acronym HK symbol
Industrial & Commercial Bank of China ICBC 1398
China Construction Bank CCB 939
Agricultural Bank of China ABC 1288
Bank of China BOC 3988
Bank of Communications BOCOM 3328

Despite rising Non performing loans, shrinking net interest margins and capital requirements, these banks have surpassed the rising Hang Seng thanks to interest rate rises, increased lending, China stimulus and PPI rises.

big-banks-rally-feb-2017

Timeline of positive factors:

1/24/2017 – Interest rates raised on medium term rates on loans.

2/03/2017 – Interest rates raised on short-term debt, reportedly in the interests of liquidity due to perceived resulting from the Chinese New Year.

2/14/2017 – Morgan Stanley published a bullish report on China Banks. Banks.

2/15/2017 – Bloomberg reported that options trading reacted positively to the bullish stance of Morgan Stanley on the big 4 banks, (all of banks listed above excluding BOCOM, which isn’t included in the  big 4).

None of these banks have reported annual earnings.  While earnings seasons has just about ended in the US, annual earnings reports for Hong Kong listed stocks are trickling in.  Regardless of the annual earnings, they won’t reflect the February 2017 change in interest rates and producer price inflation which Morgan Stanley reports.

Given the significant decline in short-term selling ratios for all but BOC, 3988 HK, the recent drop could signify a temporary drop versus a long-term decline.  At least for the short-term.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Index Changes HSI and HSCEI: In with the New, Out with the Old

Old Timers Li & Fung, 494 HK and Tsingtao Brewery, 168 HK  will be booted out of Hong Kong Indexes due to poor performance and or international dealings.  They’ll be replaced by home-grown Geely, 175 HK,  and infant IPO Postal Savings Bank, 1658 HK, favoring made in China and SOE investments, respectively.  The stock performance and market caps give a clue to the underlying reason but don’t explain it all.

hong-kong-index-changes

Data Source: Bloomberg

The mature, 50-member Hang Seng Index, HSI, loses Li & Fung, a member since 2000, as its profits and core earnings continue to drop.  It’s last reported interim statement showed a gross revenue drop of 6.4% and a core profit drop of 14.2%.  Li and Fung, a Wal-Mart and Marks and Spencer supplier, most recently reported getting 62% of its sales coming from the US.  It’s being replaced by Made In China and Sold in China: Geely Auto.  As Li and Fung’s stock has dropped, Geely has shot upwards, helping it achieve a market cap 3 times the size of veteran Li and Fung.  Geely’s sales climbed 50% in 2016, fueled by a 50% drop in the sales tax on cars with less than 1.6 liter engines.  While Geely’s annual sales climbed 50%, it reported on January 6, 2017 a preliminary profit climb of over 100%.

geely-annual-w

Geely has apparently kept the pedal to the metal with January year on year sales reported at an   annual increase of 71% although down 5.15% from December.  This increase is astounding, with the Lunar New Year starting in 2017 on Jan. 28 vs. 2016 in Feb. and Ford and GM both reporting yoy China drops of 24% and 32%, respectively, from HK filings.

geely-jan

As Home town Geely replaces exporter Li and Fung; Tsingtao Brewery, the first China incorporated  H-listed stock in history, is being removed from the younger Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, HSCEI; to be replaced by recent IPO Postal Savings Bank.  Tsingtao has faced declining sales; its last reported revenue drop of 5.3%.  However, perhaps more importantly, it has also been hit by rumors that Asahi Breweries of Japan is hoping to dump its 19.99% ownership interest. (The majority-holder of Tsingtao is Qingdao SASAC).  An index removal could reflect the  dissatisfaction of the effects of outside interests on Chinese companies.

The possible rationale for replacing Tsingtao  with Postal Savings Bank is more difficult  to explain than Geely replacing Li and Fung.  While Geely has been climbing, Postal Savings Bank has actually declined in price since its September IPO.  It’s first half report for 2016 was uninspiring, with loans increasing but net interest margin dropping significantly and a low core ratio.  It’s non-performing loan ratio of .78 is difficult to believe as world behemoth China’s Industrial and Commercial Bank,  1398 HK, ICBC, reported a npl ratio of 1.55 for the first ½ of 2016.  In the first half, ICBC had a capital adequacy ratio of 13.11 vs.  Postal Savings Bank’s first half CAR of 10.04% .

Postal Savings Bank had a less than spectacular IPO, heavily dependent upon its mostly majority state-owned cornerstone investors, which purchased over 75% of the offering.

Postal Cornerstone.PNG

 

 

Source: HK filings

*Acquisition Loans “may be” financed by SOE China Banks: China Construction Bank, 939 hk, Bank of Communications, 3328 hk, and Agricultural Bank of China, 1288 HK.
**One of 4 asset management firms set up in the 1990’s to deal with bad debt, related to the big 4 banks.  China Great Wall was linked with Agricultural Bank of China.

Rather than a strictly index-related move, the inclusion of Postal Bank could be more to the aid of those cornerstone investors,  which would face an expiration of their 6-month lock-up period close to the time of the index inclusion.  Whether this will give Postal the boost it needs remains to be seen.