Jenny Teng is senior fund manager in the equity team of Erste AM. Born in China she is employed since 2008 at ERSTE-SPARINVEST and responsible for the Asian equity markets.
Certainly, the National Congress of the Communist Party of China held every five years in Beijing is an important political event, but this year’s Party Congress was a milestone. It marked that a new era has begun in China. President Xi Jinping cemented his power further as China’s paramount leader, a leader, who might rule the country on the coming decade, a leader, who has high ambitions.
Impressions of a trip to Beijing Author: Thomas Oposich, Senior Fundmanager Fixed Income funds
Driving through Beijing you will see megalomania without limits – in houses, traffic, and people. A trip in a tuk-tuk, which looks like a motorcycle on three wheels, allows you a short glance into the past. It is at these moments that the rift between rich and poor becomes obvious.
Irrespective of the opposites in the social strata, the eyes are looking towards the future of the metropolis, home to millions. Led by the government, plans are to take the country to new strength. The control exercised especially in the area of infrastructure and with respect to property prices is enormous.
China has been increasingly opening up to the global market. Last year the Renminbi was taken into the currency basket of the International Monetary Fund in October 2016. Now, another step towards liberalisation has followed. China has cleared A-shares for international trade via trading platforms.
The spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund was held in Washington from 20th to 23rd April. This event was the reason for an investor conference that I attended in order to get an idea of the status quo of the global economy as well as of risks and opportunities.
Are we now on the other side of the recent price decline in the risky asset classes? Global equities, bonds with default risk, and emerging markets have been recording significant gains. Has the fundamental situation improved, or had the assets excessively negative events priced in?
On 11 August China devalued its currency by 1.9% relative to the US Dollar and announced that in the future it would expose the exchange rate of the Renminbi to the forces of supply and demand on the foreign exchange market. In a press conference the Central Bank did say, however, that it would continue to intervene if the development of the Chinese currency were “volatile”, “irrational”, or “distorted”.
Commodity prices have fallen drastically since the beginning of July. The commodity price index provided by Bloomberg has fallen by nearly 12%. In fact, many commodity prices are locked in a bear market. The index is currently almost 50% below the level of the beginning of 2011.
Over the same period the currencies of emerging countries have depreciated by about 35% vis-à-vis the US dollar, and equities have fallen by about 26%.