atans1

Temasek’s China banks: Strong headwinds

In Banks, China, Temasek on 03/05/2015 at 4:36 am

Temasek has stakes in three of the five major Chinese banks. See details here http://temasekreview.com.sg/en/major-investments/financial-services.html

An FT working for Reuters recently wrote

The biggest five banks reported a miserable sub-2 percent increase in earnings for the quarter, year on year. Two rate cuts have pressured their lending rates, and fees from other lines of business have slowed. A bigger drag is borrowers who can’t or won’t pay up. While bad debt levels are still low, charges for credit that hasn’t yet gone bad but might are leaping. These items increased by 73 percent year on year at China Minsheng Bank, and more than 50 percent at Agricultural Bank and Industrial Bank of China.

The valuations of big banks like ICBC, China Construction Bank and Bank of China are also burdened by the lenders’ role in big government schemes that are still not properly sketched out. Take the plan to reform local government finances by swapping some of the estimated 16 trillion yuan ($2.6 trillion) borrowed by regional authorities into new bonds. The new securities could leave banks holding the same credit risk in a different form, at deceptively low rates of interest.

China’s ambitions for global greatness also raises questions. Plans to roll out infrastructure under the clunkily named “one belt, one road” strategy are likely to involve hefty lending commitments. That may bring glory, but also pressure on banks to lend to projects that may take years to generate cash flows. In the meantime, if growth slows more at home, further rate cuts will add pressure to lenders’ margins.

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2015/04/30/banks-are-designated-drivers-at-china-market-party/

Below is a Q&A from reported on Temasek’s website. It was asked, last yr,  at a media conference on Temasek’s 2014 Review

QUESTION: Can you confirm if the Chinese banks are the major drag on your relative underperformance last year and then what are your views and plans for them? Thanks.

WYB: The banking stock has been volatile. I would not say the Chinese banks are the major drag on our performance. They do fluctuate from time to time. Chinese economy – we remain very optimistic over the long term. The financial institutions we believe have ample capability to weather the current storm and be able to adjust to the risks they’re facing. So, we remain comfortable with our stakes and we will continue to invest in the financial institutions because they are good proxy for the long term growth for Chinese economy.

RS: If I could just add to that, as you would have seen in our presentation, we had mentioned that about half our portfolio consists of listed stocks in Singapore and stocks that are listed on the H-share in Hong Kong and you saw even the Straits Times Index over the last year had negative returns, so it was not any one set of stocks, it’s just that some of the areas that we had invested in had weak market performance. And again, you know, these are results as of a particular date, March 31st. You mentioned the Chinese banks. Since March 31st, they rebounded by 10 to 12% or even if you look at the Straits Times Index, that’s up about 4%. So, you know, we really look at long term returns and look at investments over the long term horizon and are fairly comfortable with short term market volatility.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: