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20 May, 2019 11:33

Chinese farm stocks gaining as US-China trade war escalates

Chinese farm stocks gaining as US-China trade war escalates

The latest exchange of tariff hikes between Washington and Beijing have driven Chinese banking and tech stocks lower. However, the turmoil has benefited the country’s agricultural sector which managed to outperform.

The long-running trade dispute between the world’s largest economies has intensified recently, adding to investor concerns. Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump announced an increase of tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 to 25 percent, pledging to introduce further levies on another $300 billion in goods. Beijing retaliated by hiking tariffs on $60 billion worth of US products, starting June 1.

Also on rt.com US raises tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10% to 25%

The hardball rhetoric dragged down the national currency, with the yuan off 2.5 percent against the US dollar since the beginning of the month. Trade uncertainty along with a weaker currency has increased outflows of foreign funds from Chinese stock markets.

Investors reportedly sold around 36 billion yuan worth of mainland shares as of May 17. Shares in the four largest banks sustained losses due to increased concerns they will be required to lend more to bolster growth.

At the same time, Chinese technology and telecom corporations, which are deeply dependent on the global supply chain, have also seen an extensive correction. Shares of Huawei suppliers saw a major decline. China’s second biggest telecom equipment manufacturer ZTE dropped 67.4 percent in 2018 due to a US export ban. Hangzhou Hikvision, a video surveillance products supplier, declined by around 25 percent since a 10-month high on April 2.

Also on rt.com ‘Both sides will suffer’: Trump’s chief economist admits US companies to pay for Chinese tariffs

However, the established trend has been completely ignored by Chinese agricultural corporations, which managed to gain on expectations of Beijing’s retaliatory steps against US farming products.

The CSI China mainland agriculture index dropped 1.2 percent in May compared to the benchmark Shanghai index which tumbled 6.4 percent in the same period. Hefei Fengle Seed, producing seeds and agrochemicals, surged 10 percent, almost reaching a four-year high, and more than doubling in May.

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