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Big Options Bet Is Positioning for More Gains in Chinese Stocks

·2 min read

(Bloomberg) -- Chinese stocks have been a spot of resilience in this month’s global equity rout, and one options trader is making a big bet that the rally will last.

Most Read from Bloomberg

Options volume in the Xtrackers Harvest CSI 300 exchange-traded fund, ticker ASHR, lit up on Tuesday as somebody conducted a so-called bullish risk-reversal strategy, which is a bet that the fund has high odds of rallying and a slim chance of falling. More than 200,000 contracts changed hands in the trade that had two legs and involved the buying and selling of contracts with different strikes.

That pushed the ETF’s total daily options volume above 523,000, 8.5 times the average turnover in the past 20 days, and a new all-time high. The fund is trading very close to its 100-day moving average.

While aggressive monetary tightening by the Federal Reserve has forced equity investors to the sidelines in the US, China’s growth-focused policy has been luring buyers seeking a reprieve from the global rout. That, combined with easing Covid-19 restrictions, has helped the Shanghai Composite Index outperform almost every major stock market index in the world this month, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

“China has become the only refuge to avoid the wrath of hawkish central bankers,” Chris Murphy, co-head of derivatives strategy at Susquehanna International Group said by email. “Plus credit impulse in China has bottomed late last year and is moving higher, and a prolonged uptick is something investors had been waiting for.”

Chinese authorities’ easing stance on Covid-19 lockdowns combined with growing efforts to revive the economy have pushed the ASHR ETF, the fourth-largest US exchange-traded fund invested in China, up 6.3% this month. To make a wager that the ETF has more room to run, the trader rolled the position that expires in July into August, buying the Aug. 19 call contracts with a strike of $34 and selling the $30 puts that expire the same day.

Read: China’s Stock Rally Is Becoming a Lifeline for Asian Portfolios

At some point, four of the 15 most-active options contracts traded on US exchanges Tuesday were put and call contracts on the $2.4 billion ASHR ETF. The fund’s four monthly declines of at least 6% this year have driven it as much as 39% below the all-time high reached in February 2021.

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