China country-specific exchange traded funds plunged on Monday on growing concerns over Beijing’s ties to Russia, risk of U.S. delistings, and another round of lockdown measures to contain its worst COVID-19 outbreak yet.
On Monday, the Invesco Golden Dragon China ETF (PGJ) declined 11.1%, the iShares China Large-Cap ETF (NYSEArca: FXI) decreased 6.5%, the SPDR S&P China ETF (NYSEArca: GXC) fell 6.9%, the Xtrackers CSI 300 China A-Shares ETF (ASHR) was 4.2% lower, and the KraneShares Bosera MSCI China A-Share ETF (KBA) was down 4.9%.
Chinese markets retreated following reports that Russia asked China for military assistance in its war against Ukraine, fueling fears of further escalations in the conflict and geopolitical risk that would trigger a global backlash against Chinese companies or even sanctions, Bloomberg reports.
Adding to the negative sentiment, Tencent Holdings Ltd. was also facing record fines for violations of anti money-laundering rules.
Meanwhile, Shenzhen was under lockdowns for at least a week after COVID-19 cases doubled.
“There’s horrible, awful sentiment around China,” Vital Knowledge’s Adam Crisafulli told Bloomberg. “De-listing fears and renewed Covid pressures delivered a double-whammy to the few bulls left. There’s wholesale liquidation and even optimists think the space is just too hard right now. Valuations may be cheap and the PBOC is one of the few central banks easing policy, but this isn’t enough.”
JPMorgan Chase & Co. analysts downgraded Chinese internet stocks to a sell rating, arguing that these stocks were “uninvestable” in the near term.
“Due to rising geopolitical and macro risks, we believe a large number of global investors are in the process of reducing exposure to the China internet sector, leading to significant fund outflows,” JPMorgan Chase & Co. analysts said in a March report.
Chinese markets were already under pressure from delisting concerns after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last week identified for the first time five Chinese companies that could be delisted from U.S. exchanges. Washington has demanded complete access to U.S-listed Chinese companies, but Beijing restricts foreign inspection of papers from local accounting firms.
“The whole sector is becoming uninvestable … we simply will give up and get out of any U.S.-listed Chinese companies for now,” a portfolio manager with a major New York-based hedge fund told Reuters.
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