Chinese stocks make spectacular reversal as key meeting reassures audit talks with US
Regulators vow to reach audit deal with US amid uncertainties
Published: Mar 16, 2022 10:51 PM


Chinese stocks made a spectacular reversal across the board on Wednesday, as China's top financial oversight body breathed key threads of hope into the market, casting away the clouds over notably US-traded Chinese firms that have taken a battering from US securities regulatory roughening.

The State Council's Financial Stability and Development Committee convened a meeting on Wednesday, in which the body vowed to properly address recent market concerns, including seeking cooperation with relevant US authorities to tackle issues related to US-listed Chinese stocks.

In response to market concerns over the US-listed Chinese stocks, the meeting stressed that the relevant Chinese and US regulators have maintained good communication and have made progress on forming specific cooperation mechanisms to resolve the problems. The Chinese government continues to support all types of enterprises to get listed overseas.

Following news of the meeting, major US-listed Chinese stocks all surged on the New York Stock Exchange at Wednesday's opening, with the shares of Didi rising more than 40 percent, those of Pinduoduo and Bilibili surging more than 30 percent, and Alibaba and jumping more than 20 percent. The Nasdaq Golden Dragon China Index opened up 17 percent. 

That tracked massive gains for stocks across China on Wednesday. The flagship Shanghai index gained 3.48 percent at close to 3,200 points, while the Hong Kong benchmark Hang Seng Index posted a massive surge of 9.08 percent at above 20,000 points. Hang Seng TECH Index, closely linked to the performance of US-traded Chinese stocks, scaled a record single day rally of 22.2 percent.

The enormous gains that substantially reversed a sentiment-hammering rout across Chinese shares came after a key financial meeting that uplifted morale among investors at a time when some major stock indices fell to years-low.

In terms of regulatory cooperation with the US, while uncertainty may still linger over technical details regarding a bilateral framework bridging long-held rifts centering on audit working papers, a clearer stance on cooperation rather than decoupling has been crystallized on China's part, analysts said. 

Following recent regulatory uncertainty surrounding the US-traded Chinese firms, investors' confidence was significantly affected, causing a broad retreat of share prices at the Hong Kong stock market as well as Chinese mainland's A-share market over the past week, Dong Dengxin, director of the Finance and Securities Institute at the Wuhan University of Science and Technology, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

In a statement later on Wednesday, among a flurry of responses from the country's major financial regulators that seconded on key takeaways from the Wednesday blockbuster meeting, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said that it will continue strengthening communication with its US counterparts in a bid to reach an agreement with the US on audit and regulations as soon as possible.

Market analysts pointed out that uncertainties are still lingering in the negotiation process such as whether the two sides can reach an agreement on audit standard as no more detailed information has been disclosed yet. They also stressed that further progress needs to be made based on an equal footing. 

Progress might be made if a commonly agreed mechanism which allows US regulators to conveniently check on papers they need through copies to be established, as Chinese enterprises will not store the original materials in the US, Dong Shaopeng, a senior research fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Dong Dengxin meanwhile added that progress should be achieved on a basis of equality, noting that if the US side requires the Chinese enterprises seeking listing in the US to store the actual papers in the US, then US enterprises operating in China might also need to provide materials for relevant inspections.

However, despite all the technical challenges, hopes remain high that Chinese enterprises listing in the US will be a win-win for both sides. 

Dong Dengxin noted that the US is a major market for Chinese enterprises for overseas listings and it would be a big lose-lose for both sides, if the US market closes its door to Chinese firms.

The CSRC also said Wednesday that it would push for the implementation of new regulations for Chinese enterprises seeking listing overseas. Also, China's central bank said later on Wednesday that it would firmly implement the tasks from the meeting, strengthen policy coordination with responsible departments, and take a variety of actions to maintain the stable and healthy development of the country's economy and the capital market.