Exchange traded funds tracking China A-shares, the stocks trading on mainland exchanges in Shanghai and Shenzhen, have gotten plenty of notoriety in recent weeks. Most of that attention has been of the negative variety, luring short sellers to A-shares.
But after government bans on short selling, it is difficult and expensive for traders to short stocks trading on mainland China. Under normal circumstances, that would increase the allure of shorting an ETF such as the Deutsche X-trackers Harvest CSI 300 China A-Shares ETF (NYSEArca: ASHR), the largest A-shares ETF trading in the U.S.
However, as was reported earlier this week, the cost of borrowing ASHR shares to short is so punitive that traders would need the ETF to drop another 40% just to breakeven.
That risk and high cost associated with shorting ASHR increases the allure of inverse China ETFs for bearish traders, including the Direxion Daily CSI 300 China A Share Bear 1x Shares (NYSEArca: CHAD). Still less than two months old, CHAD is the first and only inverse A-shares ETF trading in the U.S. The ETF is designed to deliver the daily inverse performance of the CSI 300 Index, ASHR’s underlying benchmark, on a percent-for-percent basis.
While some traders might insist on shorting ASHR or individual A-shares stocks, if they can even get their hands on the shares, there is no denying CHAD has developed a following. Attracting $244.4 million in assets since debuting in mid-June confirms as much. However, there are good reasons to consider shorting Hong Kong-listed stocks as well. [Traders Rush to Inverse, Leveraged A-Shares ETFs]