The macro focus shifted to China for much of last week, as a number of interesting stories broke from the world’s second largest economy. Evergrande garnered many of the headlines, but initial fears of contagion appear to have been overblown. It is worth noting that Evergrande’s problems have been slowly building, and the increased risk has been seen in credit spreads. In short – it was always a ‘risky’ investment. It did give the Chinese authorities a chance to flex their muscles once again with another reminder (similar to that seen earlier this year with tech) to the country’s business class of who is really in charge. With Chinese equities down significantly this year, this easing off the accelerator from China has not gone unnoticed.
Along a similar vein, the price of Bitcoin plunged on Friday as Chinese regulators reiterated their stance towards cryptocurrencies and pointing out again that they do not have ‘legal status’ in the country. The debate over crypto will continue to rage, but until governments come on board (no – Venezuela doesn’t count) the sector will simply be a speculative investment, as opposed to a functioning currency.