China stock market tops US$10 trillion for first time since 2015

Bullish market: An investor looks at stock prices at a brokerage in Fuyang. China’s total market capitalisation is now US$10.04 trillion and just shy of the all-time high. — AFP

BEIJING: Chinese domestic equities are worth more than US$10 trillion for the first time since 2015, when a record crash erased half the market’s value in months and saddled millions of investors with losses.

The world’s second-largest stock market has added US$3.3 trillion since a low in March, helped by Beijing’s policies to encourage trading, a flurry of new listings that arrived with eased rules and the strengthening yuan.

Stocks have been close to the US$10 trillion milestone since July, when China’s government acted to tame a speculative rally that had suddenly pushed a gauge of large caps near a 12-year high.

The country’s total market capitalisation is now US$10.04 trillion and just shy of the all-time high, according to data compiled by Bloomberg as of Monday.

“It’s a meaningful number, especially coming after a pause in the stock rally, ” said Hao Hong, chief strategist for Bocom International in Hong Kong. “It’s possible China’s market value can expand faster now that market reforms like the registration-based IPO system are in place.”

The US has the world’s most valuable equities market at US$38.3 trillion. Japan is No. 3 at US$6.2 trillion, and Hong Kong’s is worth US$5.9 trillion. The UK has the world’s fifth biggest market at US$2.8 trillion.

Chinese shares rallied after a long holiday break on optimism the government will introduce reforms to turn the region around Shenzhen into a global technology hub and that the ruling Communist Party will introduce policies to stimulate demand when it holds a major meeting later this month. Equities surged over the summer as margin debt climbed at the fastest pace since 2015 and turnover soared.

The CSI 300 Index of key stocks listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen rose 0.3% at the close yesterday. It’s gain of 18% this year tops the world’s major benchmarks.

China has added a new stock venue since 2015, with the Nasdaq-style Star market launching in Shanghai in July last year. Regulators waived rules on valuations and debut-day price limits for shares on the board. In August this year, a batch of 18 firms traded for the first time on the ChiNext Index under so-called registration-based initial public offerings, surging by an average 212% by the close.

A stronger yuan has also helped equities. China’s currency rose 3.9% last quarter, the most in 12 years. — Bloomberg

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