Rising China opening its markets to the world Rising China opening its markets to the world Rising China opening its markets to the world

Rising China opening its markets to the world

Macro 6 minutes to read
Steen Jakobsen

Chief Investment Officer

Summary:  China has always been a major power, but its relative ascent versus the US and Europe is steepening, and Beijing's efforts to open its markets to global investors will only further this trend.

It’s ironic to talk about a country ‘growing up’ when it is 4,000 years old and the only country that has consistently retained major-power status. China’s role in the world, however, is on the rise again and to an extent that makes it a heavyweight in capital markets, where it has been “offline” since open markets started in the 1970s, post-Bretton Woods. 

This is now changing fast with Stock Connect, Bond Connect and multiple other ways of opening the Chinese economy to inflow and foreign participation in its capital markets.

There are many ways to measure a country’s success and rise – the most common are economic numbers like GDP per capita, overall GDP or productivity, and by those measures China is a stunning success and one that has created great admiration and enormous global trade flows.
GDP and GDP per capita
Source: author, IMF data
These two charts show China’s enormous leap forward since the 1980s; the more relevant measure for now, though, is the chart on the right – China’s share of global GDP is close to 20% and through credit impulse and indirect effects, we at Saxo now estimate China as the single biggest component of global growth with a 40% weight in global net flow and credit.

In other words, it’s more important to monitor the net changes to Chinese credit and fiscal policies than it is to follow the US’ lead (which most of us grew up with and were trained to follow).

There is, however, another key bellwether for a country’s success, impact and sophistication, and that’s the size of its capital markets and access to same. In “Capital Markets – An engine for economic growth”, Geert Bekaert of Stanford University and Campell R. Harvey of Duke University write:

Economic growth in a modern economy hinges on efficient financial sector which pools domestic savings and mobilizes foreign capital for productive investments. Without an effective set of financial institutions, productive project may remain unexploited”. 

The globalisation of markets since the Berlin Wall’s fall in 1989 and China’s inclusion in the World Trade Organization in 2001 have made this argument more valid and true. 

China’s role in the asset allocation world is improving fast through a number of channels, with Bond Connect being one of the newest ones. Global asset allocation to Chinese markets  is less than 10% of the total, with the US at more than 50%. Bridgewater’s report, entitled “The shift to Chinese assets is beginning”, expects China’s share of global assets to increase to 30% over the next decade while the US’ share should drop to 40%. 

This is all based on China continuing to improve domestic infrastructure for bonds, but also allowing bigger and broader access to Chinese markets. The number of changes over the last few years is inarguably impressive:
Shift to China
There is ample reason for investors to increase exposure to Chinese assets. China’s business cycle is often asynchronic to the rest of the world, as was seen during crisis in 2007-09 where China expanded its fiscal deficit massively as world stock markets tanked. Similarly, in 2015-17 China initiated a structural deleveraging of the shadow economy while the US and Europe were in full quantitative easing mode and supporting business and activities through lower interest rates for longer. 

This offers major diversification from a cycle perspective even without considering the increasing relative size of the Asian market. There are 7 billion people on the earth today, and 4.5bn of them live in Asia. 

We all know the story of “if I could only sell a bicycle to everyone in in China…”
Source: PopulationPyramid.net
Saxo’s entry into Bond Connect is well-timed as China has engaged in a major easing of its monetary policy with increased support to housing and corporate bonds.
Credit impulse and interest rates
Significant policy easing generally leads to an increase in the credit flow, and through this better economic data. The profile of the current easing effort is sizeable and, again, countercyclical to the US Federal Reserve in particular. This can be used by global allocators to time and hedge exposure globally. Another angle along which Bond Connect can work is to increase the transmission of credit; partly by sharing the burden of credit facilitation, partly by moving from an overly shadow banking-dependent or (or non-bank lending-dependent) model.
Shadow banking
The Credit Impulse is now pointing north again and the scale of the change to shadow banking is obvious from this chart. Remember: Bond Connect and better-functioning, accessible markets are responses from – are deliberate structural changes by – Chinese authorities to improve credit transmission and create more transparency and liquidity.

China is a global power in every aspect save that of a global reservoir for investors (with capital markets commensurate with its size). There is a need for China to become a deposit base and an alternative to Europe and the US as its global role increases. It must be noted as well that any aspiration to attain reserve currency status needs to come with more open capital accounts and increased access to financial markets. 

China is clearly determined, and is acting on this. Bond Connect opens up a market that is deep, diverse and attractive. China’s bond market represents only 73% of its GDP, where Japan sits at 336% and the UK at 207%.
China's bond market
China’s rise is certain, but its ability to continue growing will hinge on better and deeper capital markets for all of the reasons noted above. In a global world, and despite all the pushback seen from populist movements, competing for capital is the game to play. China will do well on this front as its starting position is “modest” –  less than 5% of MSCI global equity weight, the third-largest bond market, the fourth- and seventh-largest exchanges in Shanghai and Shenzhen, and a market that is growing fast and that increasingly uses bonds to finance investments.

We are confident that China will build on its recent history and continue to reform and open up. We believe it’s paramount for our clients and friends to realise how small global Chinese allocation actually is, and how big it can and will become. This is a long-term trend that we believe to be irreversible, and as such we look forward to facilitating China’s bond connect with our partners.

The Saxo Group entities each provide execution-only service and access to Analysis permitting a person to view and/or use content available on or via the website is not intended to and does not change or expand on this. Such access and use are at all times subject to (i) The Terms of Use; (ii) Full Disclaimer; (iii) The Risk Warning; (iv) the Rules of Engagement and (v) Notices applying to Saxo News & Research and/or its content in addition (where relevant) to the terms governing the use of hyperlinks on the website of a member of the Saxo Group by which access to Saxo News & Research is gained. Such content is therefore provided as no more than information. In particular no advice is intended to be provided or to be relied on as provided nor endorsed by any Saxo Group entity; nor is it to be construed as solicitation or an incentive provided to subscribe for or sell or purchase any financial instrument. All trading or investments you make must be pursuant to your own unprompted and informed self-directed decision. As such no Saxo Group entity will have or be liable for any losses that you may sustain as a result of any investment decision made in reliance on information which is available on Saxo News & Research or as a result of the use of the Saxo News & Research. Orders given and trades effected are deemed intended to be given or effected for the account of the customer with the Saxo Group entity operating in the jurisdiction in which the customer resides and/or with whom the customer opened and maintains his/her trading account. Saxo News & Research does not contain (and should not be construed as containing) financial, investment, tax or trading advice or advice of any sort offered, recommended or endorsed by Saxo Group and should not be construed as a record of our trading prices, or as an offer, incentive or solicitation for the subscription, sale or purchase in any financial instrument. To the extent that any content is construed as investment research, you must note and accept that the content was not intended to and has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such, would be considered as a marketing communication under relevant laws.

Please read our disclaimers:
- Notification on Non-Independent Investment Research (https://www.home.saxo/legal/niird/notification)
- Full disclaimer (https://www.home.saxo/en-hk/legal/disclaimer/saxo-disclaimer)

None of the information contained here constitutes an offer to purchase or sell a financial instrument, or to make any investments. Saxo does not take into account your personal investment objectives or financial situation and makes no representation and assumes no liability as to the accuracy or completeness of the information nor for any loss arising from any investment made in reliance of this presentation. Any opinions made are subject to change and may be personal to the author. These may not necessarily reflect the opinion of Saxo or its affiliates.

Saxo Capital Markets HK Limited
19th Floor
Shanghai Commercial Bank Tower
12 Queen’s Road Central
Hong Kong

Contact Saxo

Select region

Hong Kong S.A.R
Hong Kong S.A.R

Saxo Capital Markets HK Limited (“Saxo”) is a company authorised and regulated by the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong. Saxo holds a Type 1 Regulated Activity (Dealing in Securities); Type 2 Regulated Activity (Dealing in Futures Contract); Type 3 Regulated Activity (Leveraged Foreign Exchange Trading); Type 4 Regulated Activity (Advising on Securities) and Type 9 Regulated Activity (Asset Management) licenses (CE No. AVD061). Registered address: 19th Floor, Shanghai Commercial Bank Tower, 12 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong.

Trading in financial instruments carries various risks, and is not suitable for all investors. Please seek expert advice, and always ensure that you fully understand these risks before trading. Trading in leveraged products may result in your losses exceeding your initial deposits. Saxo does not provide financial advice, any information available on this website is ‘general’ in nature and for informational purposes only. Saxo does not take into account an individual’s needs, objectives or financial situation. Please click here to view the relevant risk disclosure statements.

The Saxo trading platform has received numerous awards and recognition. For details of these awards and information on awards visit www.home.saxo/en-hk/about-us/awards.

The information or the products and services referred to on this site may be accessed worldwide, however is only intended for distribution to and use by recipients located in countries where such use does not constitute a violation of applicable legislation or regulations. Products and services offered on this website are not directed at, or intended for distribution to or use by, any person or entity residing in the United States and Japan. Please click here to view our full disclaimer.

Apple, iPad and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the US and other countries. AppStore is a service mark of Apple Inc. Android is a trademark of Google Inc.