Sorry, Chinese investors, you are not going to like this news: Analysts project China’s freeze on IPOs could go on for another six months.
Chinese authorities have blocked all initial public offerings since last year in order to help turn things around for the companies that have already listed. There was fear that new issues could worsen conditions for an already fragile equity market, the Financial Times reported Friday.
Regulators also took the opportunity to demand fresh financial background checks on companies on the waiting list – out of the nearly 900 backlogged companies, about 270 candidates withdrew their applications.
Equity investors have complained that the freeze has limited their opportunities to buy into technology and consumer stocks, the new drivers of economic growth. Unfortunately, they may have to wait a while longer, as analysts suspect that the market may remain closed for another half-year.
“I’m surprised they haven’t started it up again. It’s not good,” said Francis Cheung, head of China strategy at CLSA. “Ultimately, it will be a problem for a lot of Chinese companies – it is a major way for them to raise capital. In the meantime, a lot of companies will move to Hong Kong or Nasdaq.”
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On Thursday, 58.com (NYSE:WUBA), China’s Craigslist-like online marketplace, made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange to great fanfare. Chinese companies have had 40 IPOs so far this year, raising $8.3 billion. All these listings have taken place in Hong Kong, New York or Malaysia.
The authorities will likely wait until the market is not too high and not too low, one senior executive at a Chinese brokerage said. It could be February or March before a controlled opening of the IPO market takes place, according to the Financial Times.