China’s investors have waited five years for stock values to return to $10 trillion, a milestone that would seal the market's recovery from its biggest crash in history.
The good news is that it could happen as soon as this week, and even a slower pace of gains --which is favored by Beijing -- would do it. China's domestic equities are worth about $9.5 trillion after this month's rally, according to data compiled by Bloomberg as of July 12. The advance has taken two of its indexes to 2015 levels and made virtually all of the country’s stock benchmarks overheat. In local currency terms, China's market cap is already at a record 66 trillion yuan.
But the $10 trillion level also marked the top of the bubble five years ago, a memory that's still fresh in investors’ minds. Similarities between now and then have started to displease policy makers, who have taken steps to rein in stocks: Shanghai's large caps slumped Friday after two government funds said they plan to sell shares. And while state media are still championing the bull run, a front-page commentary Monday underlined the importance of a "healthy” stock market.