Stocks of Chinese Companies Lose $540 Billion Over Economic Uncertainty and Geopolitical Tension

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Since April 18, when China released figures on its first-quarter economic output, stocks of Chinese companies around the world have lost about $540 billion in value, media reports said.

Investors trimmed their exposure to China amid economic uncertainty in the country, rising geopolitical tensions and Beijing's crackdown on international consulting firms.

China stocks
An investor is seen in front of an electronic screen showing stock information at a brokerage house in Beijing, China, January 27, 2016 Reuters

The Nasdaq Golden Dragon China Index has lost more than 5 per cent since April 18. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index has also shed 5 per cent. And the Shanghai Composite Index and the Shenzhen Component Index have fallen 3 per cent and 6.5 per cent, respectively. During the same period, the Nasdaq Composite jumped 4 per cent, CNN reported.

The selling is not limited to equities. The Chinese yuan, a barometer of investor sentiment, has tumbled over 2 per cent in the past month.

Yuan Sinks

On Wednesday, the yuan sank below 7 to the US dollar in offshore trading, breached that key level for the first time this year. The currency weakened further on Friday, hitting its lowest level in nearly six months, CNN reported.

"Investors remain sceptical (about China) for two primary reasons. First, the recovery has not been robust," said Brock Silvers, chief investment officer for Hong Kong-based Kaiyuan Capital.

Chinese Yuan
Representational Image Twitter

Another concern for global investors is the country's "fundamental investability", he said, referring to geopolitical and Chinese policy risks, CNN reported.

"Unfortunately after two decades of mutual benefit, global tensions have risen between China and the US," said Michael Kelly, global head of multi-asset at PineBridge Investments, a New York-based asset management firm.

Chinese stocks began a sharp rally in late October on hopes that the country would exit its costly zero-Covid policy. In early December, Beijing ditched the stringent restrictions, which resulted in a quick rebound in economic activity.

But despite solid consumption-led growth of 4.5 per cent in the first quarter, recent economic data point to an uneven recovery in the world's second largest economy, CNN reported.