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Goldman sees 70% chance for Chinese shares joining MSCI in June

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The odds of Chinese stocks winning inclusion to MSCI Inc's global indexes in June have shot up to 70 per cent with the government's efforts to curb trading halts and clarify beneficial ownership rules, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

[SHANGHAI] The odds of Chinese stocks winning inclusion to MSCI Inc's global indexes in June have shot up to 70 per cent with the government's efforts to curb trading halts and clarify beneficial ownership rules, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

These steps have addressed two of the five issues flagged by MSCI in April regarding the inclusion of A-shares, Goldman economists led by Kinger Lau wrote in a note on Tuesday. They added that China will now need to deal with the remaining concerns of a 20 per cent monthly fund repatriation limit, anti- competitive clauses on index products and daily quota limits on a cross border stock program.

Goldman, which had in April put the probability of inclusion at 50 per cent, also flagged the importance of China starting an equity link between Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

"These moves are clearly positive," the Goldman economists wrote. "Additionally, we believe the conditional probability for a Yes in June would be materially higher if the Shenzhen-HK Connect were to be announced."

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With an estimated US$16 billion of investment flows at stake, Chinese regulators are pushing for the nation's US$5.6 trillion stock market to be included in MSCI's global benchmarks.

In February, the nation's foreign-exchange regulator issued rules making it easier for overseas investors to shift money out of the country and apply for investment quotas.

The index compiler said in March a decision to include 5 per cent of yuan-denominated shares in its index will depend on regulators implementing changes so that widespread halts can't happen again.

About 311 companies in the Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges are still suspended or halted, representing about 10 per cent of the market, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Shanghai and Shenzhen bourses last week said that suspensions will be capped at three months for major asset restructuring and one month during private placements.

The exchanges will have the right to reject trading-halt applications under extreme market circumstances in order to protect investors, they added.

On May 6, the China Securities Regulatory Commission said regulators recognize and respect the rights and interests of so-called "beneficial owners of securities".

The interests of foreign beneficial owners are protected by the legal contract between them and their nominee holders, it added.

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