Chinese stocks in the U.S. fell the most in two weeks as slowing export growth and a warning by Moody’s Investors Service on Europe’s outlook added to signs the region’s debt crisis may further damage China’s economy.
The Bloomberg China-US 55 Index of the most-traded Chinese stocks slumped 2.4 percent to 96.82 at the close in New York, extending last week’s decline. E-Commerce China Dangdang Inc., the nation’s largest online book retailer, sank 5.2 percent after a 12 percent surge last week. China Life Insurance Co. plunged 5.7 percent to $37.55, 5 cents less than the Hong Kong shares. Internet media company Sina Corp. slid 5.5 percent to a 13-month low.
China’s export growth slowed to the weakest since 2009, excluding distortions in January and February each year. Shipments to the European Union countries, China’s biggest market, rose 5 percent from a year earlier, a quarter of the pace in July and August. Moody’s said it’s reviewing the ratings of European Union countries after last week’s summit didn’t produce measures sufficient to stem the debt crisis.
“The signs across the board seem to point to weak economic growth down the road,” Zhang Zhiwei, chief China economist at Nomura Holdings Inc., said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “Industrial production is slowing, investment is slowing, now exports are also slowing.”
The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, which tracks Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong, slid 0.1 percent yesterday. The Shanghai Composite Index of domestic shares fell 1 percent to the lowest close since March 20, 2009. The measures have plunged this year on mounting concern that Chinese monetary policy and Europe’s debt crisis are slowing growth in the world’s most populous nation.
China Mobile Discount
China Mobile Ltd., the world’s largest mobile-phone company by subscribers, dropped 1.1 percent to $47.94, the lowest closing price in two weeks. The American depositary receipts, each worth 5 ordinary shares, trade at a discount of 9 cents compared with the Hong Kong shares, the most among companies in the Bloomberg index.
Cnooc Ltd., China’s largest offshore oil producer, and PetroChina Co., the country’s second-largest oil producer followed oil lower. Crude oil for January delivery fell $1.46 to $97.95 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since Nov. 25. PetroChina slid 3.4 percent to $120.33, the lowest in two months. Cnooc fell 3.8 percent to $186.64, 2 cents less than the Hong Kong shares. Each ADR is equivalent to 100 ordinary shares.
The IShares FTSE China 25 Index Fund, the biggest Chinese exchange-traded fund in the U.S., fell 3.7 percent to $34.94. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped after two weeks of gains, losing 1.5 percent.
Exports from China rose 13.8 percent in November from a year earlier, the customs bureau said over the weekend. Sales to Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, fell 1.6 percent, while shipments to the European Union gained 5 percent from a year earlier, a quarter of the pace in July and August.
China Real Estate Information Corp. slid 6.3 percent to $4.00, the biggest drop in the China-US index. The Shanghai-based company provides real estate information and consulting.
China will maintain its “unswerving stance” on property-market regulation next year to return housing prices to a “reasonable level,” the official Xinhua News Agency reported on Dec. 9 after the market closed, citing a meeting of the Communist Party’s Politburo chaired by President Hu Jintao.
The decision of the 25-member body that oversees policy-making came before a work conference that sets economic guidelines for the coming year. That event started yesterday, according to Xinhua.
Chinese stocks in the U.S. trade at 12.5 times estimated 2012 earnings, compared with a ratio of 10.9 in Shanghai.
“Valuations are very, very attractive” for Chinese companies, Catherine Yeung, investment director at Fidelity International, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. She recommends consumer and technology companies.
The Chinese yuan strengthened 0.1 percent to 6.3606 per dollar in Shanghai, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System. The yuan has advanced 3.9 percent this year, the best performance among Asia’s 10 most-traded currencies excluding the yen.