China funds with energy bets stand out in a bleak year

China funds with energy bets stand out in a bleak year
FILE PHOTO: Investors look at screens showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai, China January 16, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song

SHANGHAI : Chinese fund managers who made big bets on energy companies are celebrating a year that was brutal for many of their peers.

Huang Hai, who manages three funds for Wanjia Asset Management, far outperformed the market by wagering on energy stocks such as CNOOC, China Shenhua Energy and Shaanxi Coal.

His Wanjia Macro Timing Mixed Fund was the best performing balanced fund this year, reaping a return of 48.4 per cent. That compares with a 22 per cent loss in the bluechip CSI300 Index.

“Instead of chasing hot stocks, we chose the carefully planned battle of contrarian investment,” Huang said on Wanjia’s website. “Looking ahead, we remain cautiously optimistic toward China’s stock market, where structural opportunities abound.”

He said upstream resources companies would continue to benefit from an on-going rebalancing from growth to value, and his fund increased exposure in the third quarter to consumer, finance and construction stocks, which he said were undervalued.

Chinese oil & gas companies and coal miners have benefited from a surge in global energy prices this year that was partly triggered by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Heavy exposure to the sector also made Zhang Yuan China’s best performing equity mutual fund manager this year, according to ranking by Refinitiv Lipper.

Zhang’s Yingda State-Owned Enterprise Reform Equity Fund achieved a return of 31 per cent in 2022, far ahead of its immediate follower with just a 12 per cent return.

Energy companies including Shaanxi Coal, Shanxi Lu’an Environmental Energy, Guanghui Energy and Shenhua Energy are among her fund’s top 10 holdings.

But Lipper’s China fund ranking also showed that stock picking was not essential. A slew of passive funds that help Chinese investors allocate assets globally comfortably beat active funds as long as they placed money in the energy sector.

A Chinese index fund that tracks the Dow Jones U.S. Select Oil Exploration and Production Index generated a return of 66 per cent.

The Lion Oil and Gas Energy Equity Fund, which invests in global energy funds under China’s outbound QDII scheme, delivered a return of 53 per cent for domestic investors.

The lowest performing Chinese mutual funds focused on the technology sector, such as the Hwabao WP Technology Pioneer Mixed Fund, which lost 50 per cent in 2022, and Fullgobal Innovation Trend Equity Fund, which slumped 48 per cent.

China’s tech-focused STAR Market slumped 31 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Tech Index tumbled nearly 30 per cent, reflecting the impact of both global monetary tightening and heightened geopolitical tensions.



Source: Reuters