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I understand the information contained in this website is not directed at, nor is it intended for distribution to, or use by, persons in any jurisdiction in which the dissemination of such investment related information is not permitted. I also understand that the information contained in this site is not directed to any party that may be defined as a ‘retail investor’ by the home regulator of the country in which the website is being accessed. I understand that the information or opinions contained herein should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any investment product nor shall any such investment products or services be offered or sold to any person in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation, purchase or sale would be unlawful. Fidelity has expressed its own views and opinions on this website, and these may change and there is no obligation to update them. Nothing in this website should be construed as investment, tax, legal or other advice. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice.

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I understand the information contained in this website is not directed at, nor is it intended for distribution to, or use by, persons in any jurisdiction in which the dissemination of such investment related information is not permitted. I also understand that the information contained in this site is not directed to any party that may be defined as a ‘retail investor’ by the home regulator of the country in which the website is being accessed. I understand that the information or opinions contained herein should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any investment product nor shall any such investment products or services be offered or sold to any person in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation, purchase or sale would be unlawful. Fidelity has expressed its own views and opinions on this website, and these may change and there is no obligation to update them. Nothing in this website should be construed as investment, tax, legal or other advice. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice.

This website has been issued by FIL Fund Management Limited, a Bermuda company licensed to conduct investment business by the Bermuda Monetary Authority. Neither FIL Fund Management Limited, its parent company FIL Limited, nor any of their group companies or affiliates makes or gives any warranty or representation that any information contained on this website is accurate, complete, or fit for any particular purpose.

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Hiermit bestätige ich, dass ich diese Website zur Informationsbeschaffung als institutioneller Anleger (ein auf eigene Rechnung handelndes Unternehmen oder ein anderer nicht als Privatanleger geltender Investor) bzw. für einen institutionellen Anleger besuche.

Mir ist bewusst, dass sich die Informationen auf dieser Website nicht an Personen richten bzw. für sie bestimmt sind, in deren Land die Verbreitung solcher anlagebezogenen Informationen nicht erlaubt ist. Mir ist ebenfalls bewusst, dass sich die Informationen auf dieser Website nicht an Adressaten richtet, die von der Aufsichtsbehörde in dem Land, von dem aus die Website besucht wird, möglicherweise als „Privatanleger“ klassifiziert werden. Des Weiteren ist mir bewusst, dass die hier zu findenden Informationen oder Meinungen nicht als Aufforderung zum Kauf oder Verkauf eines Anlageprodukts zu verstehen sind. Es sollen auch keine solchen Anlageprodukte oder Dienstleistungen Personen angeboten oder verkauft werden, in deren Land ein entsprechendes Angebot, eine Aufforderung, ein Erwerb oder Verkauf ungesetzlich wäre. Fidelity äußert auf dieser Website seine eigenen Ansichten und Meinungen, die sich jederzeit ändern können, ohne dass eine Verpflichtung zur Aktualisierung besteht. Kein Inhalt dieser Website ist als Beratung in Bezug auf Geldanlagen, Steuern, rechtliche oder sonstige Aspekte zu verstehen. Die hierin enthaltenen Informationen können sich ohne entsprechende Mitteilung jederzeit ändern.

Diese Website wurde von FIL Fund Management Limited eingerichtet, einem Unternehmen mit Sitz auf bzw. nach dem Recht der Bermuda-Inseln, das über eine Genehmigung der Bermuda Monetary Authority zur Ausübung von Investmenttätigkeiten verfügt. Weder FIL Fund Management Limited noch sein Mutterunternehmen FIL Limited oder irgendein anderes Konzernunternehmen oder verbundenes Unternehmen übernimmt die Gewähr dafür oder erklärt, dass die Informationen auf dieser Website zutreffend, vollständig oder für jedwede Zwecke geeignet sind.

Ich erkenne an, dass weder FIL Fund Management Limited noch FIL Limited oder ein anderes Konzernunternehmen bzw. verbundenes Unternehmen für etwaige Verluste haftet, die direkt oder indirekt aus einer auf dieser Website beschafften Information resultieren. Durch Annahme dieser Erklärung bestätige ich auch mein Einverständnis mit den Nutzungs- und Geschäftsbedingungen dieser Website, die ich gelesen und verstanden habe.

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The view from Hong Kong

Corporate China’s path as it emerges from economic lockdown may point the way for the rest of the world. But even with more stimulus on the way, the recovery is likely to be an uneven one, and for investors, spotting the long-term winners will require discipline.

02 April 2020

Webcasting apparel vendors getting back to work in Wuhan, Hubei province on Sunday, March 29. (Photo by Getty Images)
Webcasting apparel vendors getting back to work in Wuhan, Hubei province on Sunday, March 29. (Photo by Getty Images)

Two long months

In the two months since Lunar New Year, the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak that began in Wuhan has gone global and markets are down significantly. As we have seen in China, containment has huge economic consequences. We need to assume double digit declines in the broader measures of growth like GDP. We have seen a massive response from governments around the world, both on the monetary and fiscal sides. 

More policy support is likely

Although actions from Chinese policymakers look relatively restrained versus others so far, I believe we will see significant fiscal and monetary measures announced in the coming weeks and months. Bold moves from other Central Banks give the People’s Bank of China more room to ease. Infrastructure spending is likely to be boosted, with notable funds already being raised by local governments in bonds. I expect more to come. Government directives to the banks will support corporates - but a concern will be how much of this makes its way to small- and medium-sized companies. Anecdotal evidence - recently from a listed leasing company that focuses on the smaller end of town - was reassuring and surprising with relatively few signs of stress. However, this area needs to be closely monitored.

A major driver for the market globally will be daily new infections - getting beyond this point, or at least getting it in sight, will be one important factor for the market to form a bottom. We now have positive examples in Asia of declining infection rates, and there are signs that a number of countries in Europe are on a similar path. It is a harsh realisation, but countries have to experience the short-term pain (i.e. containment actions, even if heavy-handed) to get through the situation and on path to recovery. And from what I can see, China is recovering - and recovering relatively strongly.

Risks remain

However, I also acknowledge the risk of a second wave of infections - and this is something we are closely watching. The mainland today remains very strict with screening and quarantining measures. Similar to Singapore and Hong Kong, imported cases are a potential threat; China has also implemented another round of containment measures. For example, a colleague who is based in Hong Kong but had to urgently fly back to Beijing recently, a Chinese National, has been placed in a government suggested hotel for two weeks. Like so much of what we see when it comes to policy tweaks in China, there is caution in some instances (for example, schools remain closed). Following the recovery in manufacturing, I also expect the services sector will recover, albeit more slowly.

Sticking to the plan

In this environment, we are sticking to the plan. We continue to assess the fundamentals of companies - although more calls are done versus one-on-one meetings. In response to the outbreak, the team is spending even more time analysing companies’ balance sheets and cash flows, plus engaging with management teams to understand the challenges of withstanding a period of significant revenue declines. 

When it comes to Corporate China, management teams we talk to across most industries are focused on getting “back on track”. One manufacturer told us the other day that they are back up to 80 per cent utilisation and aim to be at 100 per cent by the end of March. The recovery in consumption is a tougher call, but more stimulus support should help - be it towards certain geographical areas such as Hangzhou where the Zhejiang provincial government gave out 1.7 billion renminbi (about $240 million) of shopping vouchers, or policies that support specific sub-sectors, like autos. Again, what is clear for me is that spurring on domestic consumption remains a priority for the government.

Winners and losers

Despite these positive signs, there has also been huge volatility, with the market efficiently rewarding those companies that are set to benefit from the containment phase and punishing those bearing the brunt of the economic impact, especially those with a more global footprint. My core focus remains on consumer and technology-related companies, which I expect to benefit from the structural growth drivers that we have been highlighting over the past years. In fact, many of the trends we were seeing in the market will be further accelerated by the outbreak. The shift online, be it in e-commerce or services like online education, coupled with the need to manage the data that drives this, will become even more paramount. 

For the most globally focused companies, many are very well managed but until recently - and from a stock perspective - the risk-reward didn’t stack up against those benefiting from China’s domestic consumption story. However, given the price action we have seen, my sense now is that more opportunities are emerging in these areas.  

While assessing financial risk is crucial, we are also focusing on how we expect companies to be placed in a competitive sense, coming out at the other side of this hiatus. From an industry perspective, I expect banks to take the brunt of any financial stress within the system. Conversely, I think cloud-related plays will benefit and expect the technology shift (online and e-commerce) will only accelerate further (as previously mentioned).

Staying focused

This is now the third major bear market that I have experienced - I reiterate the point with our analysts that the most important things we can do is to focus on what we do best - focus now more than ever on company fundamentals and maintain the same level of engagement with management teams, or even increase it.  

I also remind myself to stay true to my investment process and style - even if it is going against me! I have always had a bias towards smaller cap companies and admittedly, it’s harder in these times - they tend to suffer more when liquidity is tighter in the market. In addition, this part of the investable universe has been out of favour with investors, not just since the start of this down market but also over the past year or two. But I continue to believe though that as long as these companies execute and deliver on their strategies and earnings over the mid-term, this should get reflected in stock prices over time.

Finally, and as strange as this seems, assessing the opportunities and risks in markets like this, reminds me why I love investing and why I still think I have the world’s best job. It can be gut-wrenching but also exciting when you find great value in the market. 

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This document does not constitute a distribution, an offer or solicitation to engage the investment management services of Fidelity, or an offer to buy or sell or the solicitation of any offer to buy or sell any securities in any jurisdiction or country where such distribution or offer is not authorised or would be contrary to local laws or regulations. Fidelity makes no representations that the contents are appropriate for use in all locations or that the transactions or services discussed are available or appropriate for sale or use in all jurisdictions or countries or by all investors or counterparties.

This communication is not directed at, and must not be acted on by persons inside the United States and is otherwise only directed at persons residing in jurisdictions where the relevant funds are authorised for distribution or where no such authorisation is required. Fidelity is not authorised to manage or distribute investment funds or products in, or to provide investment management or advisory services to persons resident in, mainland China. All persons and entities accessing the information do so on their own initiative and are responsible for compliance with applicable local laws and regulations and should consult their professional advisers.

Reference in this document to specific securities should not be interpreted as a recommendation to buy or sell these securities, but is included for the purposes of illustration only. Investors should also note that the views expressed may no longer be current and may have already been acted upon by Fidelity. The research and analysis used in this documentation is gathered by Fidelity for its use as an investment manager and may have already been acted upon for its own purposes. This material was created by Fidelity International.

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

This document may contain materials from third-parties which are supplied by companies that are not affiliated with any Fidelity entity (Third-Party Content). Fidelity has not been involved in the preparation, adoption or editing of such third-party materials and does not explicitly or implicitly endorse or approve such content.

Fidelity International refers to the group of companies which form the global investment management organization that provides products and services in designated jurisdictions outside of North America Fidelity, Fidelity International, the Fidelity International logo and F symbol are trademarks of FIL Limited. Fidelity only offers information on products and services and does not provide investment advice based on individual circumstances.

Issued in Europe: Issued by FIL Investments International (FCA registered number 122170) a firm authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, FIL (Luxembourg) S.A., authorised and supervised by the CSSF (Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier) and FIL Investment Switzerland AG. For German wholesale clients issued by FIL Investment Services GmbH, Kastanienhöhe 1, 61476 Kronberg im Taunus. For German Institutional clients issued by FIL (Luxembourg) S.A., 2a, rue Albert Borschette BP 2174 L-1021 Luxembourg.

In Hong Kong, this document is issued by FIL Investment Management (Hong Kong) Limited and it has not been reviewed by the Securities and Future Commission. FIL Investment Management (Singapore) Limited (Co. Reg. No: 199006300E) is the legal representative of Fidelity International in Singapore. FIL Asset Management (Korea) Limited is the legal representative of Fidelity International in Korea. In Taiwan, Independently operated by FIL Securities (Taiwan ) Limited, 11F, 68 Zhongxiao East Road., Section 5, Xinyi Dist., Taipei City, Taiwan 11065, R.O.C Customer Service Number: 0800-00-9911#2 .

Issued in Australia by Fidelity Responsible Entity (Australia) Limited ABN 33 148 059 009, AFSL No. 409340 (“Fidelity Australia”). This material has not been prepared specifically for Australian investors and may contain information which is not prepared in accordance with Australian law.

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