Top Chinese banks’ shares lose $15B
BEIJING — Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. and Bank of China Ltd. posted their worst weeks since at least June 2016, while China Construction Bank Corp. fell for a fifth consecutive week.
The Chinese banking giants were among the biggest decliners on a gauge of Chinese shares traded in Hong Kong, losing a combined $15 billion in value.
The losses are a turnaround for the Big Four lenders, which rallied along with the Hong Kong market earlier this year as concerns over bad debt gave way to optimism over improving economic growth and corporate profits. While analysts say little has changed for the Chinese banks, they are also especially vulnerable to a correction; stockholders can sell now without forfeiting the banks’ upcoming dividends.
“Their fundamentals haven’t gotten worse; they’re still improving,” said Castor Pang, head of research at CorePacific Yamaichi HK. “But in the short term, the focus isn’t on Chinese banks.”
In contrast, Ping An Insurance Group Co. is among the top performers this week, while People’s Insurance Company of China’s Property & Casualty Co. had its best week since November 2016. Funds may have rotated into these shares because insurers will benefit from rising global bond yields, said Peter So, co-head of research at CCB International Securities in Hong Kong. European and U.S. banks also gained this week as investors expect for monetary tightening in both regions.