HSBC Holdings says it’s safe to come out of your shelters. The Chinese stock market rout is mostly over.
The British multinational bank said the 60% decline in margin loans from their June peak on the Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges has severely diminished the likelihood of further significant losses.
Borrowed funds now account for $147 billion, or 2.8% of overall market capitalization, a 10-month low and down from a record 4.5% earlier this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The figures don’t include unofficial debt.
“We’ve seen the worst” for mainland stocks, Steven Sun, Hong Kong-based head of China equity strategy at HSBC, told Bloomberg. “The whole deleveraging process is largely over.”
The beginning of the summer crash on the mainland market started in June when the authorities felt the use of margin loans to buy stock was out of control. In the year up to June 12, leveraged wagers on the mainland market grew five fold to send the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index surging 152%.
A government crackdown to curtail margin lending sparked the market’s initial decline. The benchmark currently sits 40% off its June peak.
Last week, margin debt levels hit their lowest level since December, and the balance has been stable since.
On Thursday, the Shanghai index edged up 0.9% to 3,143, and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange Composite Index gained 1.2% to 1,768. The small-cap market’s ChiNext Price Index climbed 1.4% to 2,197 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 1% to 21,096.