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The way back home: Trading behaviours of foreign institutional investors in China amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Jinhua Zhang, Rui Mao, Jieyu Wang and Mengying Xing

Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, 2021, vol. 68, issue C

Abstract: By using foreign institutional investors' daily trading data on 958 firms in China and COVID-19 infection data of six countries, this paper aims to investigate how the pandemic has influenced foreign institutional investors' trading behaviours during the first half year of 2020. In addition to domestic returns and foreign returns, ‘pull factors’ of COVID-19 pandemic in host country and ‘push factors’ of COVID-19 pandemic in home country were used to explain net foreign inflows. We find that ‘push factors’ of COVID-19 in home country are dominant in explaining the reduction of net foreign inflows in five out of 11 sectors, and ‘pull factors’ of domestic returns are dominant in explaining net foreign inflows in most sectors. The price impact of net foreign flows differs across sectors as well. A strong negative correlation between net foreign outflows and same-day return could be identified in the Financials sector. On the flip side, positive correlation between net foreign inflows and same-day return could be identified in seven other sectors. Finally, a pattern of flight-to-liquidity was discovered, as foreign institutional investors strategically sell illiquid stocks to conserve liquidity when market uncertainty is heightened.

Keywords: Foreign institutional investors; COVID-19; Net foreign flows; Flight-to-liquidity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: G11 G15 G18 G23 G28 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.pacfin.2021.101618

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