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投资理财

什么才是中国股市的最大威胁

Kristina Hooper 2016年01月14日

投资者的恐慌并非是空穴来风。

马克•吐温曾说过,历史不会重演,但却总是惊人的相似。最近,我们所看到的中国股市抛售与去年十分相似,但对于美国投资者来说,两者之间存在一个重大区别,即美联储可能没有像9月那样纠结于市场的波动。当时,受地缘政治动荡和随之而来的波动的影响,美联储推迟了加息举措。

在美联储看来,中国增速的放缓不会给美国经济前景带来重大风险,因为美联储已在前景展望中考虑了这一因素。克利夫兰联邦储备银行行长洛瑞塔•梅斯特在最新的演讲中明确了这一表态。同一天,旧金山联邦储备银行行长约翰•威廉姆斯也表示,股市抛售不会影响美联储的决策。

今后,中国股市还会经历更多的苦日子。尽管人们应谨慎对待此事,但它不应被解读为恐慌的理由。美国投资者大多认为,2016年,有很多问题都有可能为股市带来更大的波动,而中国是其中之一,其他因素包括英国可能于6月脱离欧盟以及中东、亚洲的紧张局势。美国投资者有必要学会适应中国波动频繁的股市。要做到这一点,美国投资者应进一步了解当今市场背后的驱动因素。

首先,一旦少数负面经济数据论点浮出水面,人们对中国增速放缓的担忧便不绝于耳,原因在于中国经济缺乏透明度。在经济上扬时期,投资者似乎并不怎么在意经济的透明度,但是当经济开始放缓时,透明度便成了备受关注的话题。

最近抛售的导火索之一是备受关注的财新中国采购经理人指数比预期更糟糕。在某种程度上,市场一片恐慌的原因在于投资者看不清中国的形势,而且会做出最坏的打算。

另一个例子是原油价格,它已连续下跌了一年有余。通常,投资者认为油价下跌对于经济增长来说是一个好消息,因为低油价意味着消费者用于购买其他商品的花费将增加。然而,投资者并不知道此轮油价下跌的幕后推手到底是供应还是需求。如果投资者认为油价下跌源于需求的不足,那么人们就会将其看作是中国需求疲软的迹象。只要外界对于中国增速放缓仍心存恐慌,预计油价将继续面临下行压力,而这一现象最近也为美国股市带来了下行压力。

当市场出现扭曲时,中国通常都会采取干预措施,而这也是导致市场波动的元凶之一。中国官方最近下调了人民币的汇率,而上一次下调是在2015年8月,这两次下调均引发了股市的小幅震荡。此外,本周是很多中国投资者在半年禁售期满后首次出售股票,而“禁售令”则是去年中国股市抛售潮的产物。

一些人认为,熔断机制的引入加剧了抛售。采用熔断机制后,股票价格波幅在超出某一范围后将无法自然恢复。这一举措给投资者带来了一定程度的流动性危机,而这必然会加剧波动性。当然,中国也叫停了熔断机制,为的是让股市能在将来有所好转。

这其中还存在一些更为宏观的因素。中国正从投资型经济向消费型经济转变,而这也会让股市经历不少挫折。相对于其他国家的投资者,美国投资者可能对意识形态问题更为敏感,因为美国投资者更看重自由市场。两种意识形态之间的差异也可能会引发人们的恐慌。

尤为值得一提的是,人们普遍认为,在社会主义社会中,国家利益是高于个人利益的。而这一观念对于资本家来说是噩梦,因为他们认为个人自由比国家更为重要。资本主义社会是一个自律的经济体系,而社会主义社会是一个由政府主导的系统。推行以市场自由化和资本主义繁荣为目的的改革需要时间,而且也会让股市再次遭遇剧烈震荡。(财富中文网)

克里斯汀娜•霍珀是Allianz Global Investors美国投资策略师。

译者:冯丰

校对:詹妮

Mark Twain is attributed with saying that history may not repeat itself, but it certainly does rhyme. What we are seeing recently in terms of the Chinese stock market sell-off is similar to what we saw last year, except the one big difference for US investors is that the Fed may not be as worried about the volatility – unlike what we saw in September, when geopolitical turmoil and resulting volatility helped postpone the Fed’s rate hike.

In a speech on Monday, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester was clear that a China slowdown is not viewed as a significant risk to the Fed’s economic outlook for the US, as it’s already been built into the outlook. And on the same day, San Francisco Fed President John Williams said that a stock market sell-off won’t impact the Fed’s decision making.

In the year ahead, China’s stock market is in for many more bad days. But while there is cause for caution, that shouldn’t translate into a cause for panic. The bigger takeaway for U.S. investors is that China is one of many issues that will likely create more volatility for equity investors in 2016, driven by factors such as Britain potentially leaving the Euro in June and heightened tensions in the Middle East and Asia. US investors will need to learn to become accustomed to China’s volatile market. What might help is a better understanding of what’s driving markets today.

First of all, when a few negative economic data points are released, fears of a slowdown in China become overblown because there is a lack of transparency when it comes to the Chinese economy. Investors don’t seem to mind opaqueness when economies are moving up – but they seem to matter greatly when economies are slowing.

One catalyst for this week’s sell-off was a worse-than-expected reading for the Caixin, a purchasing manager index that is a closely watched indicator of manufacturing activity. In a way, the fears were overblown as investors wonder what’s happening in China – and think the worst.

Another example is oil prices, which has fallen for more than a year. Usually investors take a drop in prices as good news for economic growth, as cheaper oil means consumers can spend more on other items. However, investors have wondered whether this oil price drop has been driven largely by supply or largely by demand. To the extent investors believe that the drop is demand-driven, the assumption is that it is a sign of weak China demand. As long as fears are overblown about a China slowdown, expect downward pressure on the price of oil, which recently has meant downward pressure on U.S. stocks.

China’s tendency to intervene when the market goes awry is also to blame for the market’s volatility. Authorities depreciated the yuan again this week, following a devaluation last August – which caused jitters then as well as now. What’s more, this week was the first time many Chinese investors were able to sell stocks following a long lockdown period, which was implemented following a sell-off last year in the Chinese stock market.

And some have argued that the sell-offs during the past week have been exacerbated by the implementation of circuit breakers, which don’t allow for a natural recovery in stock prices once they have become oversold. These actions have created something of a liquidity crisis for investors, which can of course also add to volatility. Having said that, China also announced this week that they are doing away with circuit breakers so the situation could improve going forward.

There are bigger issues at play as well. China is transitioning from an investment-based economy to a consumption-based economy – and that will bring with it many hiccups. US investors may be more sensitive to this issue than investors from other countries given strong views on free markets. This may cause apprehension, given the differences between the two ideologies.

In particular, Communism is widely viewed as an ideology where the state has priority over individuals. That is anathema to capitalists, for whom individual freedom is more important than the state. And while capitalism is a self-regulated economic system, Communism is a government-run system. Enacting reforms that enable markets to be free and capitalism to flourish will take time – and again will come with significant hiccups.

Kristina Hooper is US Investment Strategist for Allianz Global Investors.

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