Picture: REUTERS/EDGARD GARRIDO
Picture: REUTERS/EDGARD GARRIDO

Shanghai — Global index publisher FTSE Russell says it may delete more Chinese companies from its global benchmarks, after the Trump administration on Monday strengthened an executive order barring US investment in firms with alleged Chinese military backing.

The executive order, signed by President Donald Trump on November 12, triggered a rush by FTSE Russell, MSCI and S&P Dow Jones Indices to remove US-blacklisted Chinese companies from their indices to keep their clients compliant, but the scope of the sanctions was seen as vague.

The US treasury department on Monday published guidance clarifying that the executive order, released in November, would apply to investors in exchange traded funds and index funds, as well as subsidiaries of Chinese companies designated as owned or controlled by the Chinese military.

FTSE Russell, which has announced the exclusion of nine Chinese companies from its global indices in response to the executive order, said it is reviewing the US clarification and will make evaluation for “potential additional exclusions”.

It reiterated it will publish an announcement on January 4 with any additional deletions being effective from January 7.

MSCI has announced the deletion of 10 securities issued by seven Chinese firms, while S&P Dow Jones Indices said it would remove securities of 10 Chinese companies after Trump’s executive order.

MSCI had said it would also create a new and separate index series which does not reflect the changes, and will distribute the tools to clients automatically.

But on Monday, MSCI said in a statement it will now only distribute the new indices upon request by clients, and reminded index users that they are “responsible for ensuring compliance” with applicable sanctions and rules.

FTSE Russell has deleted eight US-blacklisted Chinese companies from its global indices include Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology and China Railway Construction. It will remove Chinese chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International in January.

The office of foreign assets control, the financial intelligence and enforcement agency of the US Treasury Department, on Monday published a “Communist Chinese military companies list” that gives more precise information on the sanctioned Chinese firms and their securities.

Reuters

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