China’s benchmark stock index rose to a three-month high on expectations the government will further loosen monetary policies to spur economic growth.
Dongfeng Automobile Co. and Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Co. jumped 10 percent after China said it included only domestic brands in its official-vehicle purchases this year. Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-Earth Hi-Tech Co. climbed to the highest in five months on prospects China may almost double rare earth exports this year. Poly Real Estate Group Co. led a gauge of property stocks to its first decline in seven days on earnings concerns after China Business Media reported the company cut prices on more than 100 projects.
“The government may have more leeway to stimulate the economy this year by increasing fiscal support,” said Zhang Ling, general manager at Shanghai River Fund Management Co. “Monetary easing will take place at a measured pace as economic growth isn’t falling off a cliff.”
The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 7.43 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,447.06 at the close, the highest since Nov. 17. Almost the same number of stocks rose as those that fell. The CSI 300 Index gained 0.3 percent to 2,656.57. The Bloomberg China-US 55 Index, the measure of the most-traded U.S.-listed Chinese companies, added 0.1 percent on Feb. 24 in New York.
The Shanghai Composite rallied 3.5 percent last week after the central bank announced a cut in reserve requirements on Feb. 18, the second reduction in three months as a credit crunch curbed lending to small companies. The gauge completed a sixth weekly gain, the longest winning streak since November 2010. For the year, the Shanghai index has rebounded 11 percent and trades at 10.1 times estimated profit, compared with a record low of 8.9 times on Jan. 6, weekly data compiled by Bloomberg showed.
China is likely to see little slowdown in growth this year even as its government needs to overhaul its economy to manage expansion over the next two decades, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said.
The world’s second-largest economy will probably have a “soft landing” in the “near term,” Zoellick said at a conference in Beijing today.
It’s time to buy China’s stocks after the CSI 300 broke through the 2,600 level last week and entered a bullish trend, according to Macquarie Group Ltd.’s head of China strategy. The CSI 300 exceeded the 100-day moving average last week for the first time since May 2011 and closed above 2,600 on Feb. 23, the first time since Nov. 29. The index may next test resistance at the 200-day moving average of around 2,750 to 2,800, Jiong Shao said in an e-mailed response to questions on Feb. 24.
‘Time to Buy’
“It is time to buy, given the decisive break out,” the Macquarie strategist said. “The factors that will drive markets higher include continued liquidity loosening, revival of infrastructure construction, and lastly property policy easing near the end of the second quarter or in the third quarter.”
Interbank deposits should be added to the calculation of loan-to-deposit ratio for banks to help boost lending, the Shanghai Securities News reported today, citing former People’s Bank of China Deputy Governor Wu Xiaoling. The average loan-to-deposit ratio for small- and medium- sized banks would drop to 63.8 percent from 69.1 percent if added, according to the newspaper.
“If the Chinese government will reduce banks’ reserve-requirement ratios further and ease the credit constraints the economy has been facing, the Chinese market will rally a little more from here,” Kelvin Tay, chief investment strategist at UBS Wealth Management, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in London.
Anhui Jianghuai, a unit of China’s biggest light-truck exporter, surged by the 10 percent daily limit to 7.26 yuan. Dongfeng Automobile, which makes light trucks with Nissan Motor Co., jumped 10 percent to 3.81 yuan. FAW Car Co., which makes cars with Volkswagen AG, gained 2 percent to 10.48 yuan.
China issued a preliminary list for official-vehicle purchases this year that excludes all foreign brands. The list contains of 412 domestic brands, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a statement.
China Shipping Container Lines Co., the country’s second-largest carrier of sea-cargo boxes, led shipping lines higher as U.S. data on consumer sentiment and home sales bolstered the prospects of global trade. The stock climbed 3 percent to 3.07 yuan. Cosco Shipping Co., a unit of China’s biggest shipping company, gained 2.1 percent to 4.95 yuan.
Baotou Steel Rare-Earth, China’s biggest producer of rare earth, jumped 5.6 percent to 53.03 yuan. Xiamen Tungsten Co. rose 2.5 percent to 38.20 yuan.
“Export quotas may be met this year as overseas demand recovers,” Wang Caifeng, a former official overseeing the rare-earth industry with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said in an interview in Beijing.
A measure tracking property stocks in the Shanghai Composite lost 0.4 percent today, the only decliner among the five industry groups. It jumped 9.3 percent last week after the Shanghai government signaled it was easing property curbs by saying it would allow more people to buy second homes by loosening the definition of locals.
Poly Real Estate, China’s second-largest developer by market value, dropped 1.3 percent to 11.55 yuan. The company cut prices for more than 100 projects in more than 40 cities from the beginning of this year, China Business Media reported on its website on Feb. 24, citing an unidentified official from the company. China Merchants Property Development Co. slipped 0.9 percent to 20.21 yuan. Financial Street Holding Co. retreated 0.9 percent to 6.79 yuan.
The iShares FTSE China 25 Index Fund, the biggest Chinese exchange-traded fund in the U.S., advanced less than 0.1 percent to $40.16 on Feb. 24.