Economic Ramifications

China Analyst Hong Hao Exits Firm After Social Accounts Frozen

 

Hong Hao has left his job as head of research at China’s Bank of Communications International, days after the China market analyst’s mainland social media accounts were shut down following several bearish comments about the Chinese economy.

Hong was among the most outspoken China market analysts, and worked in a high-profile post with the securities unit of Bank of Communications, one of China’s biggest state-owned banks.

The social media accounts of Hong Hao were suspended over the weekend after the commentaries and a slump in mainland equities to two-year lows on Covid-19 lockdowns and global political tensions.

Two research notes issued by him in the past two months discussed the risks of a capital flight from China and looming delisting risks of Chinese companies listed in the United States.

Online versions of the two reports mailed earlier to media remained blocked as of Wednesday.

“Mr Hong Hao has resigned due to personal reasons,” said a spokesperson for the brokerage, who declined to elaborate.

 

Analysts’ Forecasts Sometimes Censored

Negative comments by analysts and commentators in China are often censored and have come under increased scrutiny as its economy and markets encounter headwinds.

Hong Hao had forecast in his social media accounts in March this year that the Shanghai Composite Index might trade below 3,000 points in a worst-case scenario.

It fell below that level last week, before recovering to close at 3,047 points on Friday ahead of a long public holiday.

He had also attributed the sell-off in US-listed Chinese companies to China’s crackdown on technology companies, rather than US audit rules, and had criticised China’s zero-Covid policies.

Hong Hao’s WeChat account has been suspended since last week. WeChat said it was due to unspecified violations of its rules. His account on Twitter-like microblog Weibo has also vanished since Saturday.

WeChat and Weibo representatives did not immediately respond to emailed requests for comment on Wednesday.

For his Twitter account, Hong Hao, who joined BoCom International in 2012, has changed his profile to say “Ex BoCom Int’l”.

 

  • Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell

 

 

 

 

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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.

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