Goldman Sachs raises odds of China share inclusion in MSCI indexes to 70 percent

A sign is displayed in the reception of the Sydney offices of Goldman Sachs in Australia, May 18, 2016. REUTERS/David Gray

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs has increased the probability that MSCI will include mainland Chinese shares in its indexes to 70 percent,

citing recent steps taken by Beijing to remove obstacles for global money managers to invest in the country’s equity markets.

The U.S. bank joins a growing list of investors and brokers such as Blackrock and Franklin Templeton’s Mark Mobius who have given Beijing a thumbs up in recent weeks ahead of the MSCI’s decision on June 14.

Goldman said on Tuesday that measures taken by authorities with respect to beneficial ownership of shares and clarifying guidelines on stock suspensions has improved the chances of inclusion to 70 percent from a coin toss in April.

But inclusion is unlikely to trigger an avalanche of capital flows into China. Even a 5 percent weighting in the MSCI indexes will roughly translate into a net $15 billion in inflows into “A” shares, tiny in comparison to daily turnover or size.

Last June MSCI decided against including “A” shares in the index, which is a global benchmark for some $1.5 trillion of assets, due to investment restrictions.

Since then, China has addressed many of MSCI’s concerns by relaxing its $81 billion Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (QFII) scheme, a quota-based foreign investment scheme, and clarifying foreign ownership rights, prompting MSCI to reconsider inclusion of “A” shares.

Chinese stocks plunged in mid-2015 after authorities tried to crack down on rampant speculation, and markets have yet to recover.

Despite Tuesday’s bounce, Chinese stocks are the worst performing in Asia so far this year with the Shanghai stock market down a fifth, while the Hong Kong index is down 5 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Reporting by Saikat Chatterjee and Michelle Price; Editing by Kim Coghill