China, HK stocks end 2023 as world's worst performers

China, HK stocks end 2023 as world’s worst performers, down over 10%

/ 01:06 PM December 29, 2023

China, HK stocks to drop over 10% in 2023 as world's worst performers

Bull statues are placed in font of screens showing the Hang Seng stock index and stock prices outside Exchange Square, in Hong Kong, China, Aug 18, 2023. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

SHANGHAI  -Chinese and Hong Kong stocks ended 2023 as the world’s worst-performing equity markets, with losses exceeding 10 percent, although they recorded their best week in five months.

China’s blue chip CSI300 Index registered an unprecedented, third straight year of declines amid the country’s slow post-COVID recovery and intermittent geopolitical tensions, but some see opportunities in its battered shares.


“We have turned tactically positive on China,” investment banking and capital markets firm Jefferies said in its 2024 outlook, citing Beijing’s economic stimulus, the rebounding yuan currency, and “trough valuation”.


On Friday, the index rose 0.5 percent, and was up 2.8 percent for the week. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index ended the session flat, but registered a 4.3-percent weekly gain.

However, the indexes sit at the bottom of the 2023 global performance rankings, with Hang Seng slumping 14 percent for the year in a fourth year of declines, and CSI 300 falling 11 percent.

READ: Global hedge funds further offloaded Chinese stocks in Nov

In contrast, the MSCI world equity index is set to end 2023 up around 20 percent, with stellar gains recorded in markets including the United States, Japan, India and Mexico.

China “disappointed investors who expected a strong recovery” post-COVID, William Witherell, chief global economist at Cumberland Advisors said in a note.

“The economy was hit with widespread and persistent housing and local government debt problems, the clean-up of which continues.”


READ: China’s economy projected to slow sharply in 2024, World Bank says

Underscoring shriveling confidence, net foreign buying via Stock Connect this year totaled roughly 44 billion yuan ($6.20 billion) – the smallest since 2015 – as overseas investors retreated in droves since August.

But some see deep value in the battered stocks. Shanghai hedge fund manager Li Bei said in a post on Friday that investors that are underweight on China may be forced to add positions in 2024 as the market likely bottomed.

But, not all investors are convinced.

AllianceBernstein admitted China stock valuation is low, and expects the country’s corporate earnings growth to outpace that of developed markets in 2024.

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“While that combination is tempting, we still lack enough conviction to overweight amid the geopolitical risks and secular challenges,” its strategy team, led by chief investment officer Alexander Chaloff, wrote.

TAGS: China, Hong Kong, outlook, Stock Markets

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