PMIs Smash Expectations Leading To A Three Standard Deviation Day In Hong Kong

Key News

Asian equities were higher overnight with Hong Kong and Mainland China outperforming. Several Asian countries underperformed while South Korea was on holiday for Independence Movement Day.

China’s February “official” PMI beat expectations leading to a massive Hong Kong rally. Hong Kong’s most heavily traded post-release versus their US ADR performance yesterday goes as follows: Tencent +7.33% (-1.46%), Alibaba HK +6.24% (-1.64%), and Meituan +4.92%. Today’s stats are a three standard deviation event as 490 stocks climbed higher while 22 stocks declined, and the top 100 most heavily traded stocks by value were all higher! Bummer for those shaken out by the recent correction/pullback. Pain trade higher!

Remember Hong Kong is defined by what foreign investors think about China while Mainland China is what Chinese investors think about China. Clearly foreign investors were not positioned for today’s economic release. Today’s data reconfirms China reopening is occurring against the backdrop of weaker global growth. As we’ve stated previously on a relative and absolute basis, China’s economy looks appealing!

The Manufacturing PMI was 52.6 versus expectations of 50.6 and January’s 50.1, the Non-Manufacturing (Service) PMI was 56.3 versus expectations of 54.9 and January’s 54.4, and the Caixin February Manufacturing PMI was 51.6 versus expectations of 50.7 and January’s 49.2. PMIs are based on month over month changes as most economic indicators are year over year. The PMIs are a diffusion index meaning readings above 50 indicate growth while under 50 is a contraction. The “official” PMI survey of large companies is conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics while the Caixin PMI survey of medium and small companies, the “private” PMI, is conducted by IHS Markit.

Large companies are benefitting more so than smaller companies though hopefully China’s reopening benefits smaller companies over the course of the year. In China, the Ministry of Finance’s Liu Kun had positive comments on economic policy support mentioning home appliance support with Midea +4.12% and Gree Home Appliances +2.53%. Foreign investors bought a very healthy +$1.021 billion of Mainland stocks today. CNY ripped versus the US dollar gaining 1% which is a very large move.

The Hang Seng and Hang Seng Tech gained +4.21% and +6.64% respectively on volume +8.04% from yesterday which is 124% of the 1-year average. 490 stocks advanced while 22 stocks declined (22!). Main Board short turnover increased +26.54% from yesterday which is 113% of the 1-year average as 16% of total turnover was short. Growth factors outperformed value factors as large caps outpaced small caps. Top sectors were communication gaining +7.38%, tech closing higher +6.27%, and discretionary up +5.9% as all sectors were positive. Top sub-sectors were software, auto, and retailing as all sub-sectors were positive. Northbound stock connect volumes were moderate/high as Mainland investors bought $432 million of Hong Kong stocks with Tencent a large buy, Meituan a large buy, and Kuiashou a moderate/large net buy.

Shanghai, Shenzhen, and STAR Board gained +1%, +1.01%, and +0.42% respectively on volume +21.34% from yesterday which is 102% of the 1-year average. 3,288 stocks advanced while 1,600 stocks declined. Value factors outperformed growth factors while large caps outperformed small caps. Top sectors were communication gaining +5.91%, financials up +2.59%, and tech climbing higher +2.18% as all sectors were positive. Top sub-sectors were telecom, computer hardware, and land transportation while power generation equipment, chemical industry, and biotech were the worst performers. Northbound Stock Connect volumes were moderate as foreign investors bought $1.021 billion of Mainland stocks. CNY gained +1% versus the US $ closing at 6.86 versus yesterday’s close of 6.93, Treasury bonds rallied while Shanghai copper and steel gained.

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Last Night’s Performance

Last Night’s Exchange Rates, Prices, & Yields

  • CNY per USD 6.86 versus 6.93 yesterday
  • CNY per EUR 7.33 versus 7.36 yesterday
  • Yield on 10-Year Government Bond 2.89% versus 2.90% yesterday
  • Yield on 10-Year China Development Bank Bond 3.10% versus 3.09% yesterday
  • Copper Price +0.59% overnight
  • Steel Price +0.33% overnight