Quick View: China/U.S. Trade War Truce

 In Market and Investment Insights

After talks at the G20 summit in Argentina last weekend brought a temporary truce in the China/U.S. trade wars, Charlie Awdry, China equities portfolio manager, provides an update.

A White House statement issued following the G20 summit said that President Trump had delayed any action on his threat of 25% tariffs on Chinese imports for 90 days. News of this three-month negotiation period was positive for sentiment on China, with most expecting Trump to follow through with his threat in January.

Sell-Side Upgrades

At least one stockbroker has upgraded their view of Chinese equities on the back of this pause for negotiation. With the MSCI China Index down approximately 26%1 from its January 2018 highs, we believe much of the weak investor sentiment surrounding trade wars and the potential economic impact has already been priced in.

Valuations Becoming Attractive

In late October, we said that growth shares were back at buyable levels, and together with value shares being attractive (excluding banks), this was bullish. Did investors notice that the two mega-capitalization Chinese Internet stocks Tencent and Alibaba rose in November? Across the market, we feel that more attractive valuations, combined with the fact that investor sentiment is broadly negative – at a time when we are also seeing more coordinated and supportive policy action – is supportive of medium-term performance.

In short, we do not deny that there are medium-term macroeconomic issues to address, such as debt and the currency, but the long-term case for China remains very much intact. A selective approach to investing in the region looks even more compelling with some valuations currently at attractive levels.

1Thompson Reuters Datastream, as of December 4, 2018
2Janus Henderson Investors, as of October 31, 2018

Foreign securities are subject to additional risks including currency fluctuations, political and economic uncertainty, increased volatility, lower liquidity and differing financial and information reporting standards, all of which are magnified in emerging markets.

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