MSCI? We don’t need no friggin MSCI.
The decision by MSCI, the giant indexing company, to not include Chinese mainland A-shares in its emerging-market benchmark last Tuesday had little effect on the market. Neither did the huge outflows by foreign investors.
The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 2.9% last week to its highest level since January 2008. It also pushed the Chinese stock market across the $10 trillion mark for the first time.
Companies with a primary listing in China are valued at $10.05 trillion, an increase of $6.7 trillion in 12 months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The gain alone is more than the $5 trillion size of Japan’s entire stock market. The largest stock market in the world is in the US and valued at almost $25 trillion.
Chinese investors piling into the market have pushed valuations to their highest point in five years. Meanwhile, margin debt, where investors borrow money to buy shares also hit a record.
Of course, not everyone is gung ho on China’s markets. Foreign investors have pulled a net $6.8 billion out of Chinese stock funds in the seven days through Wednesday, Barclays said in a research note, citing EPFR Global data.
The market’s gains result directly from China’s central bank cutting interest rates twice since November, and the expectation more are to come.
The Shanghai gauge has rallied 152% in the past 12 months, the most among global benchmark indexes tracked by Bloomberg, and trades at about 26 times earnings. Last year, the Shanghai was valued at about 9.6 times.
Even as foreigners pull money out, Chinese investors continue to pour in. In the final week of May, a record 4.4 million trading accounts opened. On Thursday, margin debt on the Shanghai exchange hit a record 1.44 trillion yuan ($232 billion).