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China ETFs in Focus as Inflation Increases

CPI and PPI


China’s consumer prices increased 1.9% year over year in October compared with 1.6% in September and above expectations of 1.8%, per the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). It is still way behind China’s target of 3%.


Food prices fell 0.4% year over year compared with a decline of 1.4% in September. Non-food prices grew 2.4% year over year, same as September.


The bureau also added that producer prices increased 6.9% year over year in October, unchanged from September and above expectations of a 6.6% increase.


Economic Scenario


Chinese factory activity slowed in October 2017. The country’s official manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) fell to 51.6 in October from 52.4 in September (read: China ETFs in Focus as PMI Missed Expectations).  


China’s National Bureau of Statistics said that the country’s GDP grew 6.8% year over year in the third quarter compared with 6.9% in the second quarter.


The slowdown in factory activity is a major concern. China’s production curbs to crack down on pollution have affected energy and pollution-intensive companies and have added to their cost pressures.


The Chinese government has been facing challenges of curbing property market speculation and high debt. The government’s crackdowns on financial risks led to a slowdown in economic activity in some parts of the country. S&P downgraded China’s sovereign rating to A+ from AA- and revised its outlook to stable from negative.


Although the twice-in-a-decade Congress meet led to some calm in the Chinese markets initially, deleveraging concerns weighed on the stocks, owing to a slew of poor economic data. The policymakers indicated their shift of agenda to crackdown on pollution and financial risks from economic growth at any cost. China is also subject to geopolitical risks as Asian markets suffer from massive volatility due to North Korea’s actions.


Let us now discuss a few ETFs focused on providing exposure to the Chinese economy (see all Asia-Pacific Emerging ETFs here).


iShares China Large-Cap ETF FXI


This fund seeks to provide exposure to Chinese equities, serving as a pure play on the economy.


It has AUM of $3.7 billion and is a relatively expensive bet as it charges a fee of 74 basis points a year. From a sector look, Financials, Energy and Information Technology are the top three allocations of the fund, with 52.3%, 11.4% and 10.2% exposure, respectively (as of Nov 7, 2017). From an individual holding perspective, Tencent Holdings Ltd, China Construction Bank Corp and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China are the top three allocations of the fund, with 10.2%, 8.5% and 7.7% exposure, respectively (as of Nov 7, 2017). The fund has returned 34.8% year to date and 29.1% in a year (as of Nov 8, 2017). FXI currently has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 (Hold) with a Medium risk outlook.


iShares MSCI China ETF MCHI


This ETF is another such option to play the BRIC nation.


It has AUM of $2.7 billion and charges a fee of 64 basis points a year. From a sector look, Information Technology, Financials and Consumer Discretionary are the top three allocations of the fund, with 41.5%, 22.4% and 9.5% exposure, respectively (as of Nov 7, 2017). From an individual holding perspective, Tencent Holdings Ltd, Alibaba Group Holding ADR and China Construction Bank Corp are the top three allocations of the fund, with 17.9%, 13.5% and 4.6% exposure, respectively (as of Nov 7, 2017). The fund has returned 53.7% year to date and 46.6% in a year (as of Nov 8, 2017). MCHI currently has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 with a Medium risk outlook.


SPDR S&P China ETF GXC


This fund has AUM of $1.1 billion and charges a fee of 59 basis points a year. From a sector look, Information Technology, Financials and Consumer Discretionary are the top three allocations of the fund, with 37.1%, 22.0% and 10.4% exposure, respectively (as of Nov 7, 2017). From an individual holding perspective, Tencent Holdings Ltd, Alibaba Group Holding ADR and China Construction Bank Corporation are the top three allocations of the fund, with 14.8%, 11.5%, and 5.0% exposure, respectively (as of Nov 7, 2017). The fund has returned 50.5% year to date and 43.9% in a year (as of Nov 8, 2017). GXC currently has a Zacks ETF Rank #1 (Strong Buy) with a Medium risk outlook.


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ISHARS-CHINA LC (FXI): ETF Research Reports
 
SPDR-SP CHINA (GXC): ETF Research Reports
 
ISHARS-MS CH IF (MCHI): ETF Research Reports
 
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