Funds ditch $11B of China’s blue-chip stocks in 13 days

Global investors have been shedding China’s blue-chip stocks during the longest stretch of outflows on record, showing even the nation’s industry leaders are falling out of favor as a rout deepens.

Foreign investors sold 6.2 billion yuan ($851 million) of Kweichow Moutai Co. from Aug. 7 to Aug. 18, making China’s largest liquor maker the most heavily sold stock via trading links with Hong Kong. It was followed by 4.7 billion yuan of selling each for leading renewables stock LONGi Green Energy Technology Co. and major lender China Merchants Bank Co., according to the latest data on individual stocks available on Bloomberg.

Overseas funds have been fleeing the mainland market, offloading the equivalent of $10.7 billion in a 13-day run of withdrawals through Wednesday, the longest since Bloomberg began tracking the data in 2016. Their departure comes as a prolonged housing slump raises the risk of broader financial contagion, making the nation’s equity benchmark among the worst global performers this month with a nearly 8% loss.  

The CSI 300 Index is now trading at its lowest since November as optimism following the July Politburo meeting quickly evaporated. Foreigners had moved into the market en masse back then, only to leave again now in droves as economic data continue to disappoint and stimulus fails to impress.  

The 10 stocks most sold by foreigners in the latest rout were among the 50 largest ones on the CSI 300. Major distiller Wuliangye Yibin Co., Ping An Insurance Group Co. of China, and EV maker BYD Co. saw selling of at least 2.9 billion yuan each through Aug. 18. 

An analysis by Bloomberg Intelligence also shows emerging market funds have turned more bearish on Chinese stocks, deepening their average underweight position to almost 100 basis points as of the second quarter from 24 basis points three months earlier. They were overweight by 40 basis points as of end-2022.

The selling streak is showing little sign of cooling. Overseas funds shed another 10.5 billion yuan on Wednesday. A top-performing Chinese macro hedge fund blamed global capital for sinking the country’s stocks, calling them a “bunch of aimless flies” that stir up market volatility. That said, foreign funds own less than 4% of total A-shares outstanding, according to a report this month from China International Capital Corp.

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