Once high-flying exchange traded funds holding China A-shares, the stocks trading on mainland exchanges in Shanghai and Shenzhen, are tumbling again on Friday after the Shanghai Composite slid 7.4% during Asian trading.
Not surprisingly, rising volatility is a contributing factor to the stunning reversal for A-shares ETFs, of which seven are among Friday’s worst-performing ETFs on a percentage basis. The Deutsche X-trackers Harvest CSI 300 China A-Shares ETF (NYSEArca: ASHR), the largest U.S.-listed A-shares ETF, is off nearly 9% today on volume that is already more than double the daily average as volatility in that fund has surged. ASHR’s “30-day historical volatility climbed to 47 percent,” reports Aleksandra Gjorgievska for Bloomberg.
ASHR is far from Friday’s worst-performing A-shares. Even excluding the Direxion 2x Daily CSI 300 China A Share ETF (NYSEArca: CHAU), the first leveraged A-shares ETF to list in the U.S. and the double-leveraged answer to ASHR, declines for A-shares range from the low double-digits to as high as 14.4% in the case of the Market Vectors ChinaAMC SME-ChiNext ETF (NYSEArca: CNXT). Options trading on CNXT, one of this year’s top-performing non-leveraged ETFs, recently commenced.
Options on the A-shares small-cap ETF launched this week and appear to be a well-timed tool for investors looking to profit from further declines or a snapback rally in CNXT. CNXT options could prove particularly useful (and profitable) for traders looking to capture outsized short-term gains in the ETF. [China ETF’s Moment in the Limelight]
ASHR is the A-shares ETF with the most vibrant options activity. The ETF’s July options show open interest in puts at the $45 and $47 strikes of 675 and nearly 1,350 contracts, respectively, according to Nasdaq data.
“Short interest in the A-share ETF rose to a record 19 percent of shares outstanding this week as the Shanghai Composite Index went from the world’s best-performing major benchmark following a year-long rally to the worst,” according to Bloomberg.