Foreign investors piled into Chinese stocks at the worst possible time

A vendor rides on a bicycle with balloons for sale along a street as heavy smog engulfs the city on December 25, 2013 in Neihuang, China. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images)

Chinese stocks sold off heavily at the start of Friday trade but bounced back a bit and were down 1% for the session a short time ago.

It’s a wild market at the moment after yesterday’s apparent panic selling just before the close. Putting yesterday’s losses together with the early sell-off today, the Shanghai Composite lost 11% in less than 24 hours.

And it’s not just China’s celebrated growing class of retail investors getting hosed. It turns out that foreign investors piled a record $4 billion into Chinese equities last week.

Fast FT just noted:

Preliminary data from EPFR shows China equity funds absorbed $4bn from foreign investors in the week — double the previous record.

And when was the last record? The first week of the second quarter, 2008, a time when the Shanghai Composite was trading at 3,599.

Timing is everything.

There’s more over at Fast FT >>

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