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Reforms to boost asset markets, experts say

Updated: 2013-12-12 10:02
By Emma Dai in Hong Kong ( China Daily)

The reforms outlined in November's Third Plenum are expected to benefit the regional asset market and provide opportunities to overseas investors, experts said at an investment conference organized by Credit Suisse in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

"The reforms are the deepest and most comprehensive ones in the past three decades. The plan will lead to structural transformations and benefit the country's economy in the long term," said Fan Cheuk-wan, Credit Suisse's Asia Pacific chief investment officer.

The reforms of the fiscal system and urbanization drive and the relaxation of the one-child policy will pick up pace in 2014, Fan said, adding that related sectors will warm up in stock markets next year.

"At this point in time, the 12-month estimate of the price earnings ratios of companies in the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index has sunken to lower than 7 times. That means the market is yet to react to the reformative signals released by the Third Plenum," she said. "However we believe the new leadership will firmly implement the reforms. Thus we are optimistic about China stocks and suggest investors go overweight on them."

Other investment experts are less optimistic. Bruce Yam, forex strategist at Sun Hung Kai Forex Ltd, said the debts of local governments' financing platforms, the potential risks of the shadow-banking system and overcapacity may weigh on growth expectations, limiting the pace of renminbi appreciation in the second half of 2014.

Hannah Li, senior securities analyst at Sun Hung Kai Financial Ltd, said that the issuance of preferred stocks, which was recently approved by authorities, could help boost banks' balance sheets. But the overall increase in the banks' capital base could intensify competition, resulting in the narrowing of interest margins, she said.

Fan said that more details on the reforms are expected after key meetings such as the Central Economic Work Conference, which started on Tuesday, and the National People's Congress, which is scheduled for March 2014.

"The market is still skeptical and will continue adjusting for a while. But when more detailed rules are released, China stocks will see a rebound, especially in the Hong Kong stock market," Fan added.


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