Like other single-country emerging markets exchange traded funds, the iShares China Large-Cap ETF (NYSEArca: FXI) has struggled this year. FXI, the largest U.S.-listed China ETF, is off about 15%, a loss that is nearly 600 basis points more than that incurred by the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.
China’s gross domestic product expanded 6.8% in the fourth quarter or just shy of the expected 6.9% growth. The Chinese economy grew 6.9% for the full year, the least since 1990 and relatively in line with the government’s 7% target.
The International Monetary Fund, though, warned of potential further weakness out of China, projecting a 2016% growth target of 6.3% for the emerging market, reports Sofia Pitt for CNBC.
Even a 440 billion yuan, or $67 billion, stimulus package from the People’s Bank of China was not enough to stem the fallout in Chinese equities. Outflows continued at a rapid clip in December, with investors pulling a record $1 trillion from the market in 2015, or over seven times higher than the whole of 2014.
Despite the accumulation of mostly negative news pertaining to Chinese stocks and the world’s second-largest economy, some traders are not being shy about betting on a bottom for FXI.
“optionMONSTER’s monitoring programs show that 30,000 November 25 puts were sold in one print for $1.68 and $1.69 yesterday. These are clearly new positions, as the strike’s open interest was a mere 24 contracts before the trades appeared,” according to optionMONSTER. “Short puts lock in a price where investors must buy a stock, while letting them collect premium. Traders use the technique when they like a stock and think that the risk of a big drop is limited.”