Capital IdeasTM

Investment insights from Capital Group

Why research is critical when it comes to China investing
Andrew Lee
Investment Director
  • Chinese equities have had a volatile 2022 so far as the country has had to navigate COVID-19 restrictions, property debt concerns and supply chain constraints among many other headwinds
  • China is becoming an increasingly selective market that requires investors to have robust on-the-ground research capabilities
  • Capital Group was one of the first foreign investors in China, with a long track record of investing in the country since 1993

It has been quite a topsy-turvy 2022 for Chinese equities so far. What are the key factors that have contributed to the volatility?

Even though we are only in the third quarter, it already feels like a long time given the number of key events that have taken place so far. This is particularly true for Chinese equities, which started off the year well but were then weighed down by regulatory tightening across sectors such as property, technology and private education.

Things quickly took a turn for the worse as the war in Ukraine prompted huge selling across most risk assets globally. Ongoing tensions with the US also put pressure on Chinese equities but two areas specifically felt the most impact. One is the potential delisting of Chinese companies listed on US stock exchanges if they do not take steps to comply with certain accounting rules established by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Secondly, Chinese biopharmaceutical and drug companies experienced a sharp sell-off after the US Food and Drug Administration declined approval of select China-tested drugs. These factors have inevitably increased the risk premium associated with Chinese equities.

Yet before we could even take a breather, China has found itself battling another wave of COVID-19 since late first quarter. The country’s zero covid policy and the subsequent implementation of citywide lockdowns generated a lot of uncertainties because of their debilitating impact on supply chains and economic activities. Top government officials have already said the country is keeping its growth targets for the year flexible after seeing its economy grew only by 0.4% year-on-year in the second quarter. The bigger fear is whether a slowdown in China could potentially find its way into the global economy given the country’s sheer size and prominence when it comes to driving global growth.

Chinese equities did experience a strong rally from late April to late June due to increasing efforts to loosen policies and support the economy. But it remains to be seen whether China will enter “full-stimulus” mode as policies so far have been fairly targeted and that has contributed to the lingering sense of uncertainty especially when it comes to sectors that have borne the brunt of the volatility. The key issue here is the government’s zero COVID-19 policy. Pandemic-related restrictions are slowing the velocity of money within the Chinese economy so there is little point for Beijing to go full-throttle when it comes to stimulus measures now.

Chinese equities: It’s been a bumpy ride

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Data as at 31 August 2022. Source: MarketWatch


Risk factors you should consider before investing:

  • This material is not intended to provide investment advice or be considered a personal recommendation.
  • The value of investments and income from them can go down as well as up and you may lose some or all of your initial investment.
  • Past results are not a guide to future results.
  • If the currency in which you invest strengthens against the currency in which the underlying investments of the fund are made, the value of your investment will decrease. Currency hedging seeks to limit this, but there is no guarantee that hedging will be totally successful.
  • Risks may be associated with investing in fixed income, emerging markets and/or high-yield securities; emerging markets are volatile and may suffer from liquidity problems.

Andrew Lee is an investment director at Capital Group. He has 12 years of industry experience and has been with Capital Group for two years. He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration with accounting and marketing from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Andrew is based in Hong Kong.

Past results are not a guarantee of future results. The value of investments and income from them can go down as well as up and you may lose some or all of your initial investment. This information is not intended to provide investment, tax or other advice, or to be a solicitation to buy or sell any securities.

Statements attributed to an individual represent the opinions of that individual as of the date published and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Capital Group or its affiliates. All information is as at the date indicated unless otherwise stated. Some information may have been obtained from third parties, and as such the reliability of that information is not guaranteed.

Capital Group manages equity assets through three investment groups. These groups make investment and proxy voting decisions independently. Fixed income investment professionals provide fixed income research and investment management across the Capital organization; however, for securities with equity characteristics, they act solely on behalf of one of the three equity investment groups.