A $7.2 Billion China ETF Just Added the Most Cash Since 2011

(Bloomberg) — A US-listed exchange-traded fund that tracks Chinese stocks drew in cash at a record pace after the easing of the nation’s Covid restrictions and signs Beijing is ending its year-long regulatory crackdown on tech companies.

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Investors poured almost $270 million into the $7.2 billion iShares MSCI China ETF (MCHI) Tuesday, the biggest daily inflow since the fund’s inception in 2011. The ETF, which tracks the MSCI China Index, has rallied about 7% this week, following a report that Chinese regulators are preparing to wrap up a probe into Didi Global Inc.

The Didi report has sparked a flurry of positive calls from analysts at banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. amid growing optimism that beaten-down Chinese stocks are poised to rebound. The relaxation of virus curbs in major cities and stimulus from policy makers are reinforcing the sense of confidence by easing worries about the nation’s economic growth.

“Covid lockdowns have held the economy and market back, but if this reopening is sustainable, the market looks set to rally ahead of the Chinese Communist Party’s third-quarter meetings,” said Malcolm Dorson, a money manager at Mirae Asset Global Investments.

Beijing’s tech crackdown, which had ensnared sectors from e-commerce to fintech and even online education, spread to online gaming last year, when regulators introduced stringent measures capping play time for minors and imposed new requirements aimed at curbing addiction. But in another sign of regulators easing up, this week they approved the second batch of new games for sale this year following a months-long freeze.

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The MSCI China Index was up 0.6% as of 9:43 a.m. in Hong Kong on Thursday, headed for a fourth day of gains.

Chinese shares in the US have also rallied. The Nasdaq Golden Dragon China Index has risen for the past three days and is up more than 40% since May 11, though it’s still down over 10% this year.

“Tech stocks in China have been hit hard,” said Charlie Wilson, an investor at Thornburg Investment Management, who manages $1.1 billion in emerging-market stocks and said he’s overweight on Chinese equities. “We’re seeing valuations in large-cap tech names in China that we haven’t seen in more than a decade. I don’t see those businesses going away.”

(Adds MSCI China’s Thursday move in the sixth paragraph.)

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