Monday, April 04, 2011

Why Would Any Investor Avoid China?

By Eric Jackson04/04/11 - 06:30 AM EDT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The China bears, who include Jim Chanos and Hugh Hendry, have been wrong for two and a half years. Which is puzzling because if you are looking for a part of the world to invest in during the next five to 10 years, how could one ignore China?

If you want exposure to growth, you are going to be hard-pressed to find another place that offers as attractive a risk-reward scenario. Sure, there are other emerging markets to consider, like Brazil and India, but they aren't any more attractive than China, and they're certainly not as big a market.

Would you rather invest only in the U.S. or Europe? Sure, they are less volatile but they have also had a huge run in retracing their financial-crisis losses. I would argue that neither of those mature markets is going to be a more compelling buy than China when looking at potential risk and potential return.

The China bears' arguments have fallen flat so far. Remember when it was conventional wisdom that the Chinese property market was a bubble along the lines of "Dubai times 1,000"? Well, put a few policies into place to reduce speculation by boosting down payments and loan availability and -- guess what? -- the high-end market in coastal cities has appreciably cooled for the past six months.

Remember, more recently, when we heard China was going to have runaway inflation because the government was appreciating the yuan fast enough to the U.S. dollar? Well, the Chinese government has been hiking reserve requirements and interest rates feverishly for the past few months now. On Friday, George Chan of CLSA speculated that the next move from the Chinese government might be the last for a while. PMI numbers have shown that inflation is slowing.

I often hear American investors say: "I don't trust Chinese companies and their numbers (or their government's numbers)." The recent rash of Chinese reverse-merger frauds has demonstrated that there is a pervasive problem in that class of companies. There are major problems that persist to this day, and I have called on the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. listing exchanges to clean up this mess. But for any investor who says he won't invest in China because of high-profile problems such as RINO(RINO_), China MediaExpress(CCME_), Fuqi(FUQI_) and China Agritech(CAGC_), I have a simple recommendation: avoid Chinese reverse-merger companies.


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