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News from China
Hesitation over MSCI inclusion of China's A-shares serves nobody
28th April 2016

Global investors are again betting on Chinese A-shares' future as the latest opportunity has arisen for them to be included in a flagship global benchmarks index.

 
New York-based global equity indexes provider MSCI has begun a consultation on including the shares in its Emerging Markets Index to be published in June. Such a move would be viewed as a landmark recognition of China's capital market and attract more foreign investors.
 
The safest bet is that it is only a matter of time before such recognition comes. At the same time, too much hesitation serves nobody's interests.
 
MSCI decided against including Chinese A-shares in the Emerging Markets Index last year, citing concerns about the quota allocation process, capital mobility restrictions and beneficial ownership.
 
Although access to Chinese onshore equity and bond markets is still controlled by a quota system, the gatekeepers have been steadily opening the doors to the capital markets since that disappointing MSCI decision.
 
China has raised the ceiling for single QFII investment volume and cut the time for principal lock-up. Open funds are allowed to flow freely within a required monthly amount to improve liquidity.
 
The Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect, a program to expand foreign fund access to China without quota restrictions, has seen active transactions since establishment in 2014. Similar initiatives to connect Shenzhen with Hong Kong and Shanghai with London to make the market more accessible are also in the pipeline.
 
Of course, the Chinese capital market, one dominated by retail investors, still has much room for improvement as evidenced by last year's stock market rout and the Chinese yuan's depreciation, which have led to more caution in further opening up.
 
However, this should be viewed with a longer-term perspective as just like China's economic slowdown, the challenges are generally short-term volatilities.
 
The important thing is to realize that inclusion in Emerging Markets Index is not the end, but just a start to pushing more opening up and higher maturity of the global capital market.
 
Global investors need emerging markets like China's A-shares to diversify their investment portfolio and gain from potential steady growth, while China looks forward to more rational international investors, investing philosophies and game rules, which should be the real significance of the MSCI inclusion.
 
The MSCI China A International index, designed for international investors with quotas for investing in the domestic yuan-denominated stock markets, performed better than other Asian markets and the Standard & Poor's 500 index in the past month, indicating growing popularity among international investors over China-related stocks as the country's economic restructuring gains steam.
 
The sooner MSCI includes Chinese A-shares, the sooner the Chinese as well as global capital market will mature, and the more opportunities international investors will enjoy, which will be a virtuous cycle with win-win outcomes in the long run.
 
Discretion is necessary as global clients are cautious about including new stock markets, but this decision can not come soon enough for the world and China to benefit.
 
MSCI's inclusion of Chinese A-shares is as inevitable as China's determination to promote capital market liberalization is unquestionable. It's better to be part of the opening-up process instead of just waiting for the perfect moment. 
 
By Xinhua writer Zhang Zhongkai
 
Source: Xinhua
Chinese shares up, turnover down
27th April 2016

Chinese shares rebounded on Tuesday, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index up 0.61 percent to close at 2,964.7 points.

 
The smaller Shenzhen index closed 1.02 percent higher at 10,209.9 points. The ChiNext Index, which tracks China's NASDAQ-style board of growth enterprises, gained 1.36 percent to close at 2,155.7 points.
 
The shares slowly retreated to losing territory following a higher opening, but they staged a sharp rebound near the end of Tuesday's trading.
 
More than 2,100 shares, or 75 percent of the total, posted increases.New shares enjoyed the largest gains, while ceramics makers suffered the biggest blow.
 
Combined turnover on the two bourses continued to wane to 382 billion yuan (some 59 billion U.S. dollars) from 391 billion yuan on Monday, indicating persistent wait-and-see market sentiment.
 
The Shanghai Composite Index fell below 3,000 points at closing on April 20 and has since stayed under that mark with mild fluctuations. 
Source: Xinhua
China micro-credit firms' outstanding loans at 938 bln yuan by March
26th April 2016

Outstanding loans extended by China's micro-credit companies amounted to 938 billion yuan (144 billion U.S. dollars) by the end of March, data from the central bank showed on Monday.

 
The volume was down 3.2 billion yuan from the end of 2015.
 
By the end of March, the number of micro-credit companies in China came in at 8,867, the People's Bank of China said in a statement on its website.
 
Micro-lenders largely target small companies and low-income groups in need of capital. In recent years, micro-lending companies have become an important channel for medium- and small-sized firms as well as individuals to access funds.
 
The central bank report showed east China's Jiangsu Province had 637 small-credit companies by September, the most of any provincial-level region, followed by Liaoning Province and Hebei Province.  
Source: Xinhua
China open to Sino-U.S. space cooperationXinhua
25th April 2016

China is open to space cooperation with all nations including the United States, the heavyweights of China's space program said on Sunday, the anniversary of China's first satellite launch 46 years ago.

 
"China will not rule out cooperating with any country, and that includes the United States," said Yang Liwei, China's first astronaut.
 
Payload has been reserved in the Chinese space station, due to enter service around 2022, for international projects and foreign astronauts, said Yang on the occasion of the first China Space Day, an annual celebration newly designated by the government.
 
Upon request, China will also train astronauts for other countries, and jointly train astronauts with the European space station, Yang said.
 
"The future of space exploration lies in international cooperation. It's true for us, and for the United States too," according to the senior astronaut.
 
His words were echoed by Zhou Jianping, chief engineer of China's manned space program. Zhou said, "It is well understood that the United States is a global leader in space technology. But China is no less ambitious in contributing to human development."
 
"Cooperation between major space players will be conducive to the development of all mankind," Zhou added.
 
Citing security reasons, the U.S. Congress passed a law in 2011 to prohibit NASA from hosting Chinese visitors at its facilities and working with researchers affiliated to any Chinese government entity or enterprise.
 
The ban remains in effect.
 
The U.S.-dominated International Space Station, which unsurprisingly blocks China, is scheduled to end its service in 2024. China's space station could be the only operational one in outer space, at least for a while.
 
Commenting on Sino-U.S. space relations earlier this week, Xu Dazhe, the head of China's National Space Administration, cites Hollywood sci-fi blockbuster "The Martian," in which a U.S. astronaut gets stranded on Mars and is eventually brought back to Earth by NASA, with help from China.
 
Xu Dazhe noted that China and the United States established a special dialogue mechanism last year and talks would continue this year.
 
For chief engineer Zhou, the movie simply reflects what most people want. "Many American astronauts and scientists that I have met said they would like to work with us, if given the freedom of choice."
 
The China Space Day was designated to mark the launch of China's first satellite on April 24, 1970. 
Source: Xinhua

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