MSCI said it would quadruple the contribution of Chinese companies to its EM index
Chinese assets are expected to see an influx of capital as index provider MSCI said it is increasing the weighting of China-listed shares, as had been widely expected.
On Thursday, MSCI MSCI, +2.97% said it would quadruple the contribution of Chinese companies to the MSCI Emerging Markets benchmark 891800, +0.06% over the course of this year, upping their share to 3.3% and giving international investors the option to gain more exposure to Chinese stocks listed on the Shanghai Composite Index SHCOMP, +1.80% or Shenzhen Composite Index 399106, +1.20%
With the higher weighting of mainland equities, international capital will likely flow into China’s stock market, integrating the People’s Republic further into global capital markets. The introduction of the Stock Connect trading program, which allows two-way trading between Hong Kong and the mainland, has already ramped up flows.
The move comes as China has fought to garner greater inclusion of its assets in indexes like the one run by MSCI. Appetite by foreign investors for Chinese assets also has been a key driver of inclusion. Any reluctance by index providers to list China securities has centered on the country’s regulatory regime, which has faced heavy criticism. But signs of improving regulations, more openness and transparency are seen as legitimizing China’s markets. The possibility of a U.S.-China tariff agreement also is seen as bolstering perceptions about Beijing’s business climate.
Last year, MSCI formally included more than 230 Chinese stocks, known as A-shares, in its emerging-market indexes.
Meanwhile, administrators of the widely used Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Index said starting in April they will include Chinese fixed-income securities among those referenced in its index basket.
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Some experts have speculated that the higher weighting of China assets will ultimately equate to billions in flows into the country’s debt and equity, potentially boosting demand for China’s yuan.
Thus far in 2019, the yuan has strengthened more than 2% against the U.S. dollar, after dropping some 5% in 2018, amid woes across emerging markets. Despite the effect of market forces, President Donald Trump accused Beijing of manipulating its currency lower last year, though the Treasury refrained from officially labeling China a manipulator.
On Friday, the dollar rose modestly against the Chinese currency, buying 6.7064 yuan USDCNY, +0.1897% in Beijing and 6.7116 yuan USDCNH, +0.1492% yuan in the offshore market.
On Friday, China’s Shanghai Composite closed 1.8% higher while the Shenzhen Composite ended 1.2% higher, in a session driven higher on higher risk appetite, based on hopes for a U.S.-China trade deal. The indexes have gained 20.1% and 23.4% so far in 2019, according to FactSet data.
The iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets EEM, -0.19% was up 0.3% on Friday, while the iShares MSCI China ETF MCHI, +0.82% gained 1%.