by Martina Fuchs
GENEVA, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Swiss wealth and asset manager Vontobel told Xinhua recently that Chinese stocks remain an attractive asset class for international investors and that the firm was positive on China's contribution to global economic growth.
"This year, with the lockdown measures being lifted, we're convinced that we will see quite a strong economic recovery in China as the base from last year is very low, while the rest of the world might face a slowdown," Thomas Schaffner, portfolio manager at Vontobel, said via video link from Hong Kong.
Vontobel is a Switzerland-based investment firm that is present in 26 locations in its home market and around the world. It is structured into three main business units of wealth management, asset management and digital investing.
As of Dec. 31st, 2022, Vontobel held 254.6 billion Swiss francs (235 billion U.S. dollars) worth of total client assets.
"China has the potential to make a positive contribution as the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita still has room to catch up. We see attractive opportunities in the consumer sector or insurance penetration in terms of GDP per capita," Schaffner said.
China's economic recovery is expected to attract more inflows of northbound capital this year, which is the money flowing into the Chinese A-Share market through Hong Kong Stock Connect linking the Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong bourses, he said.
The China-Switzerland Stock Connect, created by Swiss stock exchange operator SIX Group and the Shanghai and Shenzhen bourses, was launched on July 28th last year.
This year on Jan. 8th, China downgraded its management of COVID-19 to treat it as a Class B infectious disease rather than a more severe Class A, enabling quarantine-free global travel and easing other curbs.
Schaffner said: "With the economic recovery, which has started now in the first quarter, and favorable policies, both on the regulatory and the monetary side, coupled with relatively low valuations, we believe that China is quite an attractive asset class within emerging markets."
"We believe that earnings growth for emerging markets and in particular in China will be stronger than in the rest of the world, which in the past led investors to re-allocate equity investments from developed to emerging markets," he explained.
Switzerland is known around the world as a top center for asset management, insurance and commodities trading. The financial sector is also the cornerstone of the Swiss economy generating around 10 percent of the GDP. ■