Tags: China | Trump Administration | trump | china | market | access

Trump to Keep Thumb on China's Access to Markets, Analysts Say

Trump to Keep Thumb on China's Access to Markets, Analysts Say
(Florin Seitan/Dreamstime)

Wednesday, 02 October 2019 03:24 PM

Trump administration pressure on China’s access to U.S. capital markets is likely to intensify, according to several analysts.

“The current political environment means these efforts will likely gather steam,” Raymond James analyst Ed Mills wrote in a note after conversations with Washington sources. The U.S.-China capital wars are a “potential new front should we run out of goods to tariff,” Cowen analyst Chris Krueger wrote separately.

Cowen’s Krueger advises watching for potential moves from three places: Congress, which could take action by making amendments to the annual National Defense Authorization Act; the administration, which could take unilateral action, but not before talks later this month in Washington, D.C.; and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

One issue the administration may seek to move quickly on, according to Raymond James’s Mills, is a 2017 decision by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, or FRTIB, to transition to the MSCI “All Country World ex-U.S. index” as a benchmark.

That index lists “many China-linked firms that are viewed as acting counter to the national security interests of the U.S.,” Mills said, while several have “violated U.S. sanctions and are under scrutiny by the federal government for human rights abuses.” There are also concerns about how China’s refusal to allow independent auditors access to company financials on national security grounds may limit “investors’ ability to make sound investment decisions,” he said.

Mills noted that lawmakers from both parties, primarily Sens. Marco Rubio and Jeanne Shaheen, have argued that the MSCI-AWCX index allows federal workers’ retirement funds to support “enterprises Beijing uses to undermine American workers,” and that are involved in “military, espionage, human rights abuses, and the ‘Made in China 2025’ industrial policy.”

Restrictions on China are not “fake news,” Mills added, referring to a comment last week by White House trade adviser Peter Navarro. Along with actions that may focus on FRTIB-directed funds, and a push for greater financial reporting transparency from Chinese firms, the “threat of more draconian measures should not be discounted,” he said.

On Tuesday, hedge fund star Ray Dalio said preliminary discussions on limiting U.S. investments in China make him wonder if the Trump administration is “inching toward bigger moves.” Earlier, Kyle Bass, founder of Hayman Capital Management, said Chinese companies raising capital in the U.S. should face greater scrutiny, and he would personally never invest in the country’s internet giants.

U.S.-listed shares of China-based companies rallied on Monday, rebounding from a sharp drop on Friday, after Bloomberg said the White House was weighing limits on U.S. portfolio flows into China, a report the Trump administration subsequently played down. Gainers included Alibaba Group Holding.

In a statement emailed to Bloomberg over the weekend, a spokeswoman for U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said there were no current plans to stop Chinese companies from listing on U.S. exchanges.

© Copyright 2019 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

   
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Trump administration pressure on China's access to U.S. capital markets is likely to intensify, according to several analysts.
trump, china, market, access
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2019-24-02
Wednesday, 02 October 2019 03:24 PM
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