It's official: Chinese stocks have surged over 100%

Hong Kong's newest addiction: Investing
Hong Kong's newest addiction: Investing

Chinese markets just keep powering ahead.

The Shenzhen Composite rallied 3.6% on Tuesday, pushing gains so far this year over 100%, and easily making it the world's top performing stock market.

Stocks in Shanghai and Hong Kong have also surged year to date, climbing 20% and 52% respectively.

That makes the S&P 500's 3.3% gain this year seem pretty ho-hum.

The Shanghai and Hong Kong markets are dominated by state owned blue chips, while Shenzhen hosts a number of smaller technology, media and telecom startups.

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The latest gains come on the back of a new investor scheme designed to boost fund flows into Chinese markets.

On Friday, China unveiled a plan to allow Hong Kong mutual funds to be sold on the mainland for the first time. Nearly 1,000 funds qualify for the scheme which will allow foreign investors to tap China's fast growing consumer sectors, Macquarie China economist Larry Hu wrote in a research note.

This program, along with a similar scheme launched last year connecting the Hong Kong and Shanghai markets, gives investors more channels than ever to make financial investments in China.

There's so much investor interest that BNP Paribas estimates about 170,000 new stock trading accounts are opened each business day in China, more than 10 times the average for last year.

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Markets in China have spiked this year even as economic growth has continued to slow - first quarter GDP came in at 7%, the worst since the financial crisis.

Investors remain optimistic that Beijing will act to save the economy. The central bank has already taken some steps, announcing interest rate cuts and lowering the amount of cash banks must keep on reserve -- a move meant to help the economy by freeing up money for banks to lend. Economists expect the government to unleash more easing in coming months.

But things are already looking up.

Recent factory activity shows early signs of recovery, the decline in national home prices has continued to narrow, and latest figures suggest capital outflow has eased substantially.

"The recent development of China's economy is largely in line with our views that the first quarter of 2015 was the darkest moment, and things could improve from the second quarter," Macquarie's Hu wrote.

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