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Chinese stocks

Oct 12, 2023

Chinese Stocks Struggling to Find a Low, Continue to Slide

By:Christopher Vecchio - CFA

FXI up 0.32% month-to-date

  • The data and news flow out of China remains discouraging at best.
  • Shares of major Chinese companies, like BABA and BIDU, have broken multi-month uptrends.
  • The Chinese large-cap ETF, FXI, has underperformed SPY by more than 20% in 2023.
Year-to-date price percent change chart for FXI, BABA, BIDU
Year-to-date price percent change chart for FXI, BABA, BIDU

China’s property market sector continues to teeter on the brink collapse, as home sales have failed to pick up despite various interventions from the central government.

Country Garden Holdings (CTRYF), a distressed property developer, announced on Tuesday that it had no means to repay a loan and was close to defaulting on its foreign debt payments due to a freefall in sales amid China’s intensifying property crisis. The implosion of the real estate market has already forced Evergrande (3333.HK), another major private property developer, into bankruptcy.

Chinese equities have continued to struggle and lag their American counterparts. Chinese junk bonds are trading near new lows for 2023, while iShares China Large-Cap ETF (FXI), the China large-cap ETF, is now trailing the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) by more than 20% year-to-date. Two of the most popular Chinese companies, which make up nearly 14% of FXI, remain on the cusp of more significant technical breakdowns.

FXI price technical analysis: daily chart (October 2022 to August 2023)

FXI price technical analysis: daily chart (October 2022 to August 2023)

FXI continues to bounce around near the low carved out in May near 25.51, failing to gain any significant upside momentum. A series of lower highs and lower lows has been carved out over the past three months. Momentum has improved–FXI is holding at its daily 5-, 13-, and 21-EMA envelope–but it’s by no means bullish.

Moving average convergence/divergence (MACD) is pinned just below its signal line, and slow stochastics’ advance to their highest level since early-September has not seen a corresponding move in the price to its September high. It remains the case that a drop below late-May low near 25.51 would bring into focus levels below 24.00, unseen since November 2022.

BABA price technical analysis: daily chart (August 2022 to August 2023)

BABA price technical analysis: daily chart (August 2022 to August 2023)

The tepid price action for shares of retail and tech giant Alibaba Group Holding (BABA) in recent weeks has underperformed other Chinese equities, while maintaining the broader consolidation in place late-February. Nevertheless, the uptrend from the September 2022 and May 2023 lows has been broken. A new range has been carved out below trendline support.

Multi-month swing lows near 82.50 have held up thus far, but below this area, the odds would increase of a retest of the May low at 77.77.

BIDU price technical analysis: daily chart (August 2022 to August 2023)

BIDU price technical analysis: daily chart (August 2022 to August 2023)

Tech company Baidu Inc. (BIDU) has struggled to retake the rising trendline from the October 2022 and August 2023 swing lows; the September low of 126.77 is back into focus as a meaningful turning point.

BIDU is now below its daily EMA envelope, which is in bearish sequential order. MACD has started to turn lower below its signal line, while Slow Stochastics have issued a sell signal after failing to advance into overbought territory. Below 126.77, BIDU would lose multi-week support which could foretell a return below 120 before month’s end.

Christopher Vecchio, CFA, tastylive’s head of futures and forex, has been trading for nearly 20 years. He has consulted with multinational firms on FX hedging and lectured at Duke Law School on FX derivatives. Vecchio searches for high-convexity opportunities at the crossroads of macroeconomics and global politics. He hosts Futures Power Hour Monday-Friday and Let Me Explain on Tuesdays, and co-hosts Overtime, Monday-Thursday. @cvecchiofx

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