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MSCI likely to increase weighting of A shares

By Zhou Lanxu | China Daily | Updated: 2019-02-27 08:02
In 2018, MSCI became the first global index compiler to incorporate A shares in its global indexes by including 235 large-cap A shares into its indexes with a 5-percent inclusion factor. [Photo/IC]

Global index provider MSCI is likely to approve increasing the weighting of China's A shares in its indexes this week, as the country's capital market reform and opening-up increases the allure of its markets, analysts said.

"MSCI is very likely to increase the inclusion factor of large-cap A shares to 20 percent. We prudently estimate this will usher in about $60 billion to $70 billion into the market this year," said Bao Ting, a strategy analyst with Shenzhen, Guangdong province-based Great Wall Securities.

In September, MSCI launched a consultation on increasing the inclusion factor of 235 large-cap A shares to 20 percent from 5 percent in two phases in May and August this year. Decisions of the consultation will be announced on or before Feb 28, it said.

The consultation also covers whether to add 14 stocks on the ChiNext-China's Nasdaq-style growth board-to the large-cap A-share list in May 2019, and to include 185 A-share mid-cap stocks with a 20-percent inclusion factor in May 2020.

The inclusion factor refers to how much of a stock's market capitalization, adjusted by the MSCI, is included in its indexes.

In 2018, MSCI became the first global index compiler to incorporate A shares in its global indexes by including 235 large-cap A shares into its indexes with a 5-percent inclusion factor.

"Improvements in market accessibility and market rule reforms such as trading suspensions have made it more convenient for foreign investors to thrive in the A-share market. This will support MSCI's decision on the weighting increase," Bao said.

The probable approval of increased weighting is in line with the long-term trend for foreign capital to continuously flow into the A-share market, Bao said.

"Among major global stock markets, the A-share market's low valuation and high growth prospect constitute a major attractive factor."

A high-profile meeting on Friday signaled the capital market's ascension as a key tool for economic growth in the years ahead, indicating great market prospects, analysts said.

Zhang Yulong, chief strategy analyst with Beijing-headquartered China Securities, said the meeting implied for the first time that capital market reform and opening-up will be the key to resolving major financial risks and propelling economic restructuring.

"Now is the start of a bullish A-share market," Zhang said in a note.

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