Top Asia manager bullish on Chinese property outlook
Kenny Tjan, Asia Pacific CIO of Australian boutique MIR, dismisses the idea of a Chinese property bubble and says he is snatching up companies trading at a 40-60% discount.
by Emily Blewett on Jul 03, 2012 at 14:53
It is time to buy into China's property market, Kenny Tjan, CIO of Asia-Pacific portfolios at the Australian boutique MIR said after having sold out of Chinese equities in the past year.
In an interview with Citywire Global, the Singapore-based manager said property companies are trading on attractive discounts of 40-60%.
‘Property developers at the moment are so bearish but we are currently really overweight on property in China,’ Tjan said. ‘We would buy even more over the summer as we do not want to be led by the macro fears.’
Despite many investors apprehension over the country's banking and property sectors, Tjan said he had added a significant overweight to these areas as he sees no signs of the government introducing policies to counter any potential loosening.
Data from the China Real Estate Index System (CREIS), a private sector survey conducted in China’s 100 largest cities, yesterday announced house prices had risen in the past month snapping a nine-month decline.
Government policies such as home ownership restrictions have helped keep a lid on prices, added Tjan.
‘We still have a misconception of a property bubble in China when actually within China it is seen as a investment. People when they have money love to speculate and for the Chinese, property is their most-loved commodity.’
Over the last 12 months he has held a significant underweight towards Chinese equities on unattractive valuations as he still sees growth to reach 7.5%-8% in 2012.
Having recently upped his exposure, he currently holds 12% in China whilst his benchmark weighting is at 17%.
One of the reasons explaining his underweight is Tjan still doesn't hold any consumer staples which he says investors have 'flocked to safety even though everyone knows that they will be slowing down too.'
Chinese banksOn banks, Tjan sees opportunity in selective stocks which he thinks will have the political support to be bailed out in the case of a crisis.
‘China’s banks are already state-owned and China’s debt is mostly internally held. There would definitely be political support if it came to a crisis.’
Banks will have to contend with lower operating margins says Tjan, however the biggest driver of margin squeezes –liberalising the banking system – is still a long way off, he said.
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