Blackmores Limited & a2 Milk Company Ltd shares lift on regulatory boost

Credit: Jonathan

Shares in China-exposed foodstuffs exporters Blackmores Limited (ASX: BKL), Bellamy’s Australia Ltd (ASX: BAL) and a2 Milk Company Ltd (ASX: A2M) are all up in morning trade after news reports surfaced that the Chinese government may delay intended regulatory changes.

The value of all these companies took a big hit in April amidst confusion over what impact new Chinese government rules on the online import of foreign foodstuffs might have on the companies’ sales in the country.

Many analysts, companies, and news agencies all came out with different interpretations as to when and how a “positive list” of approved foodstuffs for online sale in China may be implemented and what may or may not be included on it over time.

Moreover, there was additional confusion over potential labeling and licensing requirements, while analysts had different views as to how deeply the proposed changes could impact the business models of different companies.

Despite the general confusion, what is clear is that the Chinese state wants to lift its tax share of the booming health foods sector via increased regulation.

This as cross border online commerce rapidly picks up pace and threatens to bypass significant parts of the old order of lucrative trade tariffs levied via the import of customs and excise.

China has already flagged plans to lift taxes by a net amount of 11.9 per cent on many foodstuffs imported into China via online channels and investors in the above companies must remain aware of regulatory risks as China remains a one-party state able to introduce new reforms on an arbitrary basis as it sees fit.

After decades of deliberate devaluation China’s currency has also been steadily appreciating against major world currencies, which is giving its fast-rising middle class the buying power to afford the products of Bellamy’s and Blackmores in exponentially growing numbers.

Like other major governments the Chinese remain keen to devalue their currency to benefit their exporters, however, its relative appreciation over the years ahead looks a structural shift likely to keep benefiting exporters of Australian foodstuffs.

For that reason alone it’s prudent for growth-focused ASX investors to retain a small exposure to this trend via holdings in either Blackmores, Bellamy’s or the a2 Milk Company.

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Motley Fool contributor Tom Richardson owns shares of Bellamy's Australia and Blackmores Limited.

You can find Tom on Twitter @tommyr345

The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Bellamy's Australia. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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