Market mania comes to China again. Can it last this time?
中国股市再掀狂热。这一次能长久持续吗?

【双语】牛市回归 A bull market returns-书迷号 shumihao.com

IN CHINESE STOCKMARKET mythology, the rarest of beasts is the slow bull. The past couple of decades have brought two fast bulls: vertiginous surges in share prices, neither lasting more than a year. Those soon led to fast bears when stocks crashed and, eventually, to slow bears as the descent became more gradual. Most of the time there have been what might be termed long worms as the market moved sideways, such that the CSI 300 index, a gauge of China’s biggest stocks, has averaged the same level over the past five years that it first reached back in 2007. The slow bull—a steady, almost dependable, rise year after year, well known to investors in America—has remained elusive.

在中国股市的神话中,最罕见的兽类是“慢牛”。过去二三十年里曾经出现过两次“快牛”:股市暴涨,但都没持续超过一年。之后股市崩盘,“快牛”很快变成“快熊”,而随着下跌逐渐放缓,最终又变成了“慢熊”。在大多数时间里,股市可能都应该算是“长虫”,因为市场一直在一定范围内上下蠕动:过去五年里,代表中国最大规模上市公司的指标沪深300平均保持在它于2007年首次跌至的低位。美国投资者熟悉的“慢牛”,也就是年复一年稳定地、几乎完全可靠地上涨,在这里很难看到。

China’s indomitable punters now hope that a trundling taurus has at last arrived. As of last week, stocks had jumped by 16% in July and were up by nearly 40% from their low in March. That might sound like another fast, doomed bull run. But some believe this one will be more enduring than those of the past.

现在,百折不挠的中国股民们期盼着一头缓步而来的金牛终于出现。7月截至上周股市已经上涨16%,比3月时的低谷高出近40%。这听起来像是又一头疾奔而来却耐力不足的牛。但一些人相信它会比以往那些坚持更久。

For starters, China appears to be in much better economic shape than other large economies. Because investors must allocate their funds somewhere, there is always a comparative element to stockmarket performance. China is the only big economy forecast to grow this year, and is also expected to record the strongest rebound next year, according to projections published by the IMF at the end of June. There are grave concerns about the toll that the coronavirus might take in America during the flu season in the autumn. By contrast, China has shown every intention of smothering renewed outbreaks. That has given people and businesses greater certainty about the path ahead.

首先,中国的经济状况似乎要比其他大型经济体好得多。因为投资者总得把他们的资金投到某个地方,股市表现总归存在一个相对因素。国际货币基金组织(IMF)6月底发布的预测认为,中国是今年唯一预计能实现正增长的大型经济体,而且有望在明年出现最强劲的反弹。人们非常担忧到了今秋流感季新冠病毒可能会在美国造成损害。相比之下,中国已显示出扑灭新的疫情苗头的决心。这让民众和企业对前路感到更为确定。

Market dynamics also seem to be helping. Even after the rally, valuations in China are reasonable. The CSI 300 trades at 14 times the value of company earnings, far below the 27-times multiple of the S&P 500, America’s most-watched share index (see chart). Foreign investors have more ways to enter China’s previously walled-off market; many are compelled to do so, because its shares are now included in key indices tracked by institutions. During the first three trading days of July, 44bn yuan ($6bn) flowed into Chinese equities via accounts in Hong Kong, a record high for any three-day period.

市场动态似乎也很有利。即便在这轮拉升之后,中国股市的估值仍是合理的。沪深300的市盈率为14倍,远低于美国最受关注的指数标普500的27倍(见图表)。外国投资者已经有更多方式进入中国曾经封闭的资本市场,而很多投资者是被迫投资中国市场的,因为中国股票现在被纳入了机构跟踪的关键指数中。7月的前三个交易日,440亿元资金通过香港账户流入中国股市,创下三天资金流入量之最。

Although more investors have started buying shares with borrowed money, the outstanding balance of such margin trading is just over half the peak it reached five years ago, during China’s most recent manic run. It is now easier for companies to list shares on the mainland, so new offerings should help absorb some of the cash rushing into the stockmarket. “This lays the foundation for a slow-bull market that could last for ten or 20 years,” says Chang Shishan of Kangzhuang, an asset-management firm.

尽管更多投资者已经开始借钱来买股票,这些融资余额才刚超过五年前中国最近一次疯狂牛市时峰值的一半。现在在中国大陆上市更容易了,因此新上市的公司可以帮助吸收一部分涌入股市的资金。“这为可能持续10到20年的慢牛奠定了基础。”康庄资产管理有限公司的常士杉说。

Nevertheless, it is hard to shake the feeling that the optimists might once again be getting ahead of themselves. The outlook for profitability, which ultimately should determine share prices, is still grim. Over the first five months of 2020, industrial profits were down by 19% compared with a year earlier.

然而,这很难让人完全摆脱掉一种感觉,就是乐观者可能又一次高兴过早了。股价最终还是应该由盈利决定,而盈利的前景仍不乐观。2020年的前五个月,工业利润同比下降了19%。

Most worrying is the way that the Chinese media are swinging into cheerleading mode. If past episodes are anything to go by, this is one of the telltale signs of irrational exuberance. “The clicking of the bull’s hooves is a beautiful sound for our post-virus era,” declared a front-page editorial in the China Securities Journal, a state-run newspaper, on July 6th. The Shanghai Securities, its sister publication, was less poetic but more direct in an article that was posted online on July 3rd: “Hahahahaha! It looks more and more like a bull market!” Healthy bulls need only a diet of grass. Injecting them with steroids is an invitation to trouble. ■

最让人担心的是中国的媒体正在迅速进入啦啦队模式。如果说过去种种有任何参考意义的话,这种行为是非理性繁荣的迹象之一。“嗒嗒的牛蹄声是后疫情时代的美丽召唤。”《中国证券报》7月6日的头版评论文章宣称。它的姊妹刊物《上海证券报》7月3日在网上发表的文章没这么诗情画意,但更为直接:“哈哈哈哈哈!牛市特征越来越明显了。”健康的牛只需要吃草。给它们打激素就是在找麻烦。