Friday was a truly dark day for Chinese equities.
At one point, the Shanghai Composite was down as much as 6.1% in afternoon trading. That would be the biggest intraday drop in almost two years.
To be clear, this has been in the making for days. As we wrote on Thursday, “the SHCOMP looks like it’s going into a goddamn death spiral.” But Friday was the culmination. Although mainland shares would trim some of those intraday losses, the SHCOMP closed down by more than 4%. More than 50 companies were limit down. It was the worst single-day loss since February of 2016:
This is the weekly loss:
This was the week for other mainland gauges:
The Shenzhen is now down 21% since November 2016 – it’s a bear market:
Apparently, the fabled “national team” (a coalition of state-backed vehicles cobbled together to support the market during the 2015 crash) is not yet prepared to step in.
“The market doesn’t look like it needs the helping hand of the National Team as it did back in 2015,” Jinkuang Investment Management’s Zhang Haidong told Bloomberg, adding that “it’s still a rational correction after accumulated gains.”
Ok, man. But what’s particularly unnerving here is that this seems to suggest that as the mainland markets become more open, Chinese shares will be increasingly prone to catching cold when the rest of the world sneezes. Earlier this week, it looked like mainland shares were going to hold up while the rest of the world burned. And then… and then.
As far as Hong Kong goes, it’s shaping up to be a “the first shall be last” type scenario, something more than a few folks suggested would probably happen in a correction after the Hang Seng and H-shares outperformed the rest of the world during January’s global rally. Have a look at this:
How’s that for a reversal of fortunes?
Just to drive the point home, the Hang Seng just had its worst week since the crisis:
Bottom line: those markets are in a free fall. And while I’m sure there are plenty of people who would dispute that assessment or call it needlessly hyperbolic, at what point do we stop with the niceties and just call this what it is?