Central Hujin Investment Ltd. a unit of China’s sovereign wealth fund has bought shares of four Chinese state-owned banks according to government news agency Xinhua.The four banks include Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), Bank of China (BOC) and China Construction Bank (CCB). All shares were bought on the secondary market.
Beijing has clamped down on lending as it struggles to bring inflation within its 4% target. Tighter lending has created a near liquidity crisis, local government debt has mounted, PMI looks weak, and the stock market has been down this year. With a slowdown in the global economy and fears of a Chinese hard landing, many investors have fled China, and other emerging markets, for safe havens.
The government already owns a majority of shares in the China’s biggest banks. While it remains unclear whether it will continue to intervene, the government, through Hujin aims to stop the 30% decline in bank stocks in recent months, according to the Financial Times.
The move was aimed solely at restoring investor confidence. While the Shanghai Composite closed at its lowest level in over 2 years, bank stocks in Hong Kong spiked immediately on the news.