George Chen

Is there really a China story?

George Chen
May 26, 2011 05:09 UTC

By George Chen
The opinions expressed are the author’s own.

I remember a veteran trader once told me of the three scenarios under which one should sell stocks.

First, sell when you start to sense the government is beginning to tighten market liquidity, indicated for example by a sudden influx of IPOs or a tougher monetary policy. Second, sell when you see almost everyone, from monks to neighborhood grandmothers, is buying. Third, when you see big banks such as Goldman Sachs downgrade their economic forecasts, which basically means they know they misunderstand something and have to fix the misunderstanding, sell.

So, this week Goldman Sachs trimmed its economic growth forecasts for China to 9.4 percent this year, from 10 percent previously, citing a recent run of surprisingly weak data, high oil prices and supply constraints. Goldman’s report created a buzz in the market, pushing some investors to sell further amid already weak sentiment. More banks are expected to follow Goldman’s move to trim their China forecasts in coming days and weeks.

Will Beijing be happy to see economic growth finally slow a little amid concerns of possible overheating in some sectors, for example, real estate? The answer is both yes and no. Yes, Beijing expects to see some cooling of the economy, but if it extends too far it could lead to massive money outflows, which would be an even bigger headache for the government than high property prices, in my view.

If you don’t trust Goldman Sachs’ forecast, you should trust gold prices — some traders shared a trick with me to forecast the timing of a market rebound. When you see gold (and other commodities) prices start to cool, then it may be an opportunity to buy stocks.

Firing and hiring

George Chen
Apr 1, 2011 02:39 UTC


By George Chen
The opinions expressed are the author’s own.

Today is April Fools’ Day, a rare opportunity to make fun of friends and colleagues with pranks and practical jokes. Ever ahead of the game, Goldman Sachs produced an amusing mistake yesterday making it look more than a little foolish, as many investors and rival bankers may attest.

The bank’s Asia structured products unit said yesterday that trading in four index warrants it issued in relation to the Nikkei 225 was abruptly suspended in Hong Kong because of errors in supplemental listing documents. The formula of “cash settlement amount per board lot” for the warrants was misstated, Goldman Sachs Structured Products (Asia) Ltd said in a filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange. Click here to read the Goldman Sachs statement (PDF).

Before being suspended, the warrants surged by between 130 and 1,077 percent on Thursday morning, which local media reported could cost the bank millions of dollars.

Ex-DE Shaw, Goldman partners launch new fund

George Chen
Mar 2, 2011 05:09 UTC


By George Chen

HONG KONG, March 2 (Reuters) – A former partner of D.E. Shaw and an ex-Goldman Sachs partner are setting up a new firm to raise about $500 million for a China-focused private equity fund to join the growing competition for deals in the world’s No.2 economy, sources told Reuters on Wednesday.

Meng Liang, a partner and Greater China CEO for D.E. Shaw, one of the world’s largest hedge funds, has resigned from the firm to join hands with Kevin Zhang, a former Goldman Sachs partner who was co-head of its Asian Special Situations Group from 2005 to 2009, to launch their own investment firm, said the sources with knowledge of the matter.

Meng and Zhang, both Yale MBA graduates, received some capital commitment for the new fund from some Chinese entrepreneurs whose companies were invested by Meng and Zhang when they were with D.E. Shaw and Goldman, one source said.