China Chooses Deflation, For Now
The China Banking Regulatory Commission asked some banks to provide information on overseas loans made to Dalian Wanda Group Co., Anbang Insurance Group Co., HNA Group Co., Fosun International Inc. and the owner of Italian soccer team AC Milan, according to people familiar with the matter.
The inquiries, which come a week after reports of an investigation into Anbang’s chairman, are likely to put a further chill on China’s outbound takeovers after tighter capital controls cut deal activity this year by 56 percent from the same period in 2016. By targeting some of the country’s most powerful tycoons, Xi Jinping’s government may be sending a signal of its commitment to cleaning up the financial system before a key Communist Party leadership reshuffle later this year.
“We are now in an environment where preventing financial risks is lifted as the top priority, so I think the regulators are trying to gauge the total exposure,” said Wei Hou, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein. “Regulators must have seen some red flags.”
…Shares of billionaire Guo Guangchang’s Fosun and related companies tumbled in Hong Kong, mirroring a similar rout at units of Wanda. Fosun International fell as much as 9.6 percent, while Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co.’s dropped as much as 7.8 percent.
Wanda Film Holding Co. tumbled as much as 10 percent in Shenzhen, its biggest loss since January 2016, before its shares were suspended from trading. Wanda Properties International Co.’s 2024 notes plunged as much as 10.7 cents on the dollar to 101 cents in morning trading in Hong Kong, the biggest drop on record, according to Bloomberg-compiled data.
“I don’t think it’s the right time to invest or buy into these companies,” said Alex Wong, a director of asset management at Ample Capital Ltd. in Hong Kong. “Sometimes this kind of event can accelerate very quickly.”
The ChiNext fell 1.44 percent on the day, all of it in afternoon trading following the news.