The last time I revisited the Chinese stock market, it was in the throes of a major bear market. Fast forwarding to now shows things have only intensified with the Shanghai composite trading at less than half of its top in October 2007:
While we quibble about a percentage point here and there to see if our market decline fits into the classic definition of a bear market, there are no qualms regarding that in China.
The scary thing is that even after falling so much, the index is still far from major support areas. If you look at the link above, you’ll see a long term chart of the Shanghai composite going back to its founding. According to that chart, significant support is somewhere in the vicinity of the 2000 level. That would put a potential fall to almost 70%!
I have no idea if that will happen but the Chinese stock market certainly has precedent. It is not for the faint of heart. The Shanghai Composite can go ballistic: rising as it going ten fold in the span of a year (1991-1992) but it can also lapse into deep stagnation, as it did from 2000 to 2007, treading sideways.
But what interests me more is the portent of such a dramatic decline for the price of crude oil. From what I read, China holds significant responsibility for the current price of oil because of its voracious appetite. But if the stock market is a forward discounting mechanism, that means that the Chinese economy is about to decelerate or even go into a tailspin.
The corollary of that is lower demand for oil and, if I remember Economics 101 correctly, that would mean a lower oil price - all things being equal.
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