NIO (NYSE: NIO) seems to have been fighting an uphill battle so far in 2022. Supply disruptions, Chinese regulators, and Covid-19 restrictions have plagued the automobile manufacturer and as a consequence, its shares have fallen over 43% this year. Over the last 12 months, the shares have fallen an even greater 48%. So, currently sitting at $19, is now the time for me to add this Chinese EV stock to my portfolio? Or should I steer clear? Let’s investigate.
A major driver behind NIO’s poor share price performance has been the state of the macroeconomy. Inflation has been soaring across the globe, caused by a combination of Covid-19-related supply bottlenecks and soaring energy prices stemming from the tragic Russia-Ukraine conflict. Central banks across the globe have been hiking interest rates in an effort to curb this red-hot inflation. When rates rise, it weighs on growth stock valuations as investors shy away from speculative assets and pour money into safe ones. Evidently, this has been bad news for NIO.
Another threat the company has been battling is supply issues caused by a series of lockdowns in Shanghai. The lockdowns forced NIO — along with other Chinese-based EV companies like Li Auto and Xpeng — to slow down or even halt production. This resulted in a series of disappointing monthly delivery figures that seemed to have tipped investors’ sentiment away from the stock.
The firm has also been facing domestic pressure from Chinese regulators. The Chinese government aimed to curb the power of US-listed Chinese companies, and NIO has faced delisting fears as a consequence. The EV giant has undertaken secondary listings in Hong Kong and Singapore to mitigate this risk, but the threat has put serious pressure on the share price in recent months.
In the company’s Q1 2022 results, it outlined some encouraging metrics. Year-on-year deliveries rose by 29%, with revenues climbing 24% to $1.5bn. In addition to this, the firm’s losses shrank 10% compared to the fourth quarter of 2021. This highlights the encouraging move towards profitability. In its full-year results for 2021, NIO outlined it had increased its sales by 118%, with revenues climbing a staggering 122% compared to the year prior. If it can continue this trajectory in 2022, then I think it could have a rosy stock exchange future.
A product-specific standout that entices me to buy the stock is its unique battery switching technology. Users can swap out their battery within minutes, making it super convenient. At present, NIO is the only manufacturer offering this service in the EV market. This edge could help the firm keep its market share in the extremely competitive industry.
NIO has experienced astronomic growth in the last few years and has some market-leading tech behind it. However, for me, the macro-outlook is just too risky to invest in growth stocks at the moment. In addition to this, the supply issues and Chinese regulatory threats could continue to plague the firm. As such, I won’t be buying any shares at $19.