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Chinese stocks could attract more than $400 billion in inflows once shares are fully included in widely followed MSCI indexes, the world’s largest asset manager BlackRock said on Wednesday.
The comment made by its managing director and head of China equities, Helen Zhu, was in response to the muted reaction from market watchers after MSCI decided last week to add 222 China A shares into its emerging markets index. Some even said that the move is not a “game changer on any front.”
“A lot of these type of changes, you do have to implement them early on to provide the backdrop for the gradual changes and impact to come through. In terms of the MSCI inclusion, it is indeed only a first step, it’s a relatively small step because the inclusion factor is only 5 percent at the moment,” Zhu told CNBC at the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Dalian, China.
“But over a medium and longer term perspective, this is very much just the first step in a very gradual and inevitable process of a full inclusion of China in the indices. When that full inclusion happens, China H plus A added together will be potentially over 40 percent of MSCI EM (emerging market), at which point we’re talking about maybe $400 billion plus of potential inflows.”
BlackRock in its mid-year investment outlook said it is optimistic on both Chinese equities and credit despite recent economic data showing uneven growth in the country’s services and manufacturing sectors.
In her interview with CNBC, Zhu reiterated the view that China’s growth momentum remains strong. Addressing concerns by some investors that the country’s recent corporate crackdown may indicate a wider systemic risk, Zhu said such regulatory actions are part and parcel of investing in emerging markets over the medium and longer term.
China’s willingness to acknowledge and manage such risks is a move in the right direction, but investors must also realize that those issues cannot be solved overnight, she added. She expects China to stall, and potentially reduce, the growth in corporate credit over the next three to five years.
“Any problem that’s taken seven, nine years to build up will not be resolved overnight so that path towards the resolution will not be a straight line either… When we do have the foundation of a very strong economy, when we do have a virtuous feedback loops going on, then the policymakers can afford to potentially slow down credit growth a little bit more aggressively,” Zhu said.