Chinese Stocks Have A New Biggest Worry: Plunging Liquor

Amid generally mixed trading in Asian shares to start the week, don’t let it be lost on you that mainland shares in China suffered another grievous blow, falling more than 2% for the fifth session in October.

This is horrendous:


October is setting up to be the worst month for the index since January 2016, when Chinese shares were in a veritable tailspin. The CSI 300 was even worse, falling more than 3% on huge volume today, a decidedly bad combination.

The problem child on Monday was sorghum liquor maker and SSE 50 heavyweight Kweichow Moutai. This market darling traded limit down after posting earnings that disappointed investors. I want to put this in perspective for you – have a look at the following chart which shows the company’s meteoric rise along with today’s egregious rout.


Just to give you an idea of what’s hurting sentiment, here’s an excerpt from Goldman’s Q3 post-mortem (and do keep in mind that Kweichow Moutai is a Conviction List Buy at GS):

Sales of Moutai spirit increased by 20% yoy, reaching Rmb 46.27bn in 9M18, which implies 3Q18 sales were Rmb 16.88bn, up 1% yoy. The comparative growth rate in 1Q18/2Q18 was 27%/47%, meaning the sales growth of Moutai spirit slowed down in 3Q18. Taking into account ASP increase and better product mix, we think total shipment volume of Moutai spirit was less than 9,000 tons in 3Q18, down more than 16% yoy.

This is a problem and points to stress on the Chinese consumer amid the trade war.  Kweichow Moutai got hit with two downgrades and a PT cut on Monday (Zhongtai Securities, Pacific Securities, CICC). Here’s a look at Kweichow Moutai (blue) versus similarly downtrodden shares of fellow liquor makers Wuliangye Yibin and Luzhou Laojiao:


Also note that Monday was the worst day for the CSI 300 Consumer Discretionary Index since early 2016. The losses were horrific – the index plunged nearly 5.5% on the session.


So, in addition to the pledged stock problem (which has hopefully been ameliorated, at least in the near-term) and the yuan’s seemingly inescapable destiny with a 7-handle, you’re seeing actual cracks in the foundation in China’s mainland markets which, you’re reminded, became the world’s most volatile earlier this month.

Read more

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