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  • Foreign Markets - Detailed News

China Market ups on Caixin PMI data, MSCI decision to boost stocks weighting
01-Mar-19   09:08 Hrs IST
Headline indices of the Mainland China equity market were higher in morning session on Friday, 1 March 2019, bolstered by better than expected Caixin manufacturing PMI data. Confirmation that MSCI Inc. will boost the weight of Chinese stocks in its global benchmarks also helped sentiment. In morning trade, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index added 0.23%, or 6.79 points, to 2,947.74. The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, dropped 0.01%, or 0.22 points, to 1,546.11. The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.6%, or 21.52 points, to 3,690.89.

China's factory activity improved in February but remained in contractionary territory for a third month as the world's second-largest economy continued to struggle with weak export orders, a private survey showed on Friday. The readings - closely watched by investors as an alternative to the official data and more focussed on smaller firms - offered further evidence China's economy is losing momentum and suggests the U.S.-Sino trade war will continue to weigh on exports as prospects for a trade deal remain uncertain. The Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for February rose to 49.9 from 48.3 in January, just below the neutral 50-mark dividing expansion from contraction on a monthly basis. Economists had forecast a sharper deterioration for February of 48.5.

The results of the China's private survey came on the heels of official PMI China released on Thursday which showed manufacturing activity fell for the third straight month, dropping to 49.2 in February from 49.5 in January, according to data released by the country's National Bureau of Statistics. Investors have been closely watching economic indicators from the world's second-largest economy for signs of trouble amid domestic headwinds and the ongoing U.S.-China trade dispute. The manufacturing data come days before China's annual meeting of parliament which starts on March 5. Top officials are widely expected to announce more support measures such as sweeping tax cuts to reduce the strains on the economy. Chinese leaders will also reveal Beijing's key economic and financial targets for the year which may provide clues on their future policy stance. Actual growth in the world's second-largest economy cooled to 6.6% in 2018 — the slowest in 28 years — from 6.8% in 2017.

Index provider MSCI Inc. said it would quadruple the contribution of mainland Chinese companies' to its benchmarks. Late Thursday, MSCI said it would follow through on its September proposal to increase the so-called inclusion factor of mainland companies in its widely tracked emerging-markets index to 20% from its previous cap of 5% over a three-step process starting in May. That will push the weighting of domestic Chinese stocks to 3.3% by November, when the process is set to be completed, from 0.7% now. The decision is likely to pull tens of billions of dollars into China. The world's second-largest economy is also set to enter a world bond index in April and a rival global stock index in June.

CURRENCY NEWS: China's yuan was little up against the U.S. dollar on Friday, buoyed by optimism that Beijing and Washington will reach a trade deal after a China tariff hike due on March 1 was suspended. Yuan traders said market sentiment remained positive as tensions between the world's two largest economies had eased. Prior to the market opening, the People's Bank of China set the midpoint rate at 6.6957 per dollar, 56 basis points softer than the previous day fixing of 6.6901.

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