Friday, 12 August 2016

US stocks hit record highs but Chinese stocks down amid bank recapitalisation

Stocks were mostly higher on Thursday.

In the US, the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite Index all rose to record highs, rising 0.5 percent, 0.7 percent and 0.5 percent respectively.

US stocks were boosted by a 4.3 percent jump in US crude oil and a report showing a drop in weekly jobless claims.

European stocks also rose. The STOXX Europe 600 0.8 percent.

Earlier, though, Asian stocks were mixed. The Shanghai Composite fell 0.2 percent but the Hang Seng Index rose 0.4 percent.

Bloomberg had mixed news for China on the banking front.

The good news is that the capital raises have begun. The bad news is that they need to continue.

An analysis of 765 banks in China by UBS Group AG shows that efforts to clean up the country's debt-ridden financial system are well underway, with as much as 1.8 trillion yuan ($271 billion) of impaired loans shed between 2013 and 2015, and 620 billion yuan of capital raised in the same period. But the work is far from over, as to reach a more sustainable debt ratio the Chinese banking sector will still require up to 2 trillion yuan of additional capital as well as the disposal of 4.5 trillion yuan worth of bad loans, according to the Swiss bank's estimates.

And bad loans could continue to pile up from continuing malinvestments. According to Bloomberg, Morgan Stanley has noted that fixed-asset investment growth among China's state-owned enterprises has accelerated across the board in 2016, with the exception of mining.

George Magnus, senior economic adviser at UBS, wrote: "Capital accumulation isn't all or always wrong but if it's largely debt financed and SOE provided, I'd say that malinvestment is still hard at work."

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