Trading in 12 off-exchange Chinese securities to be restricted

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Major off-exchange trading platform operator OTC Markets Group said on Thursday it would prohibit trading in 12 Chinese securities as a result of rules by the Trump administration, further restricting U.S. investor access to the country.

The move comes as Washington ramps up its hardline approach toward Beijing in the final days of the Trump administration, which has so far blacklisted 35 Chinese companies allegedly owned or controlled by the Chinese military and is considering adding more, including Alibaba and Tencent, two of Asia’s biggest companies.

OTC Markets trades around 11,000 over-the-counter securities, many of which would not meet the standards to list on a national stock exchange. It said quoting in nine symbols, including those of China Railway Construction Corp, Nanjing Panda Electronics Co, and Semiconductor Manufacturing International, would no longer by available on its platform as of Thursday. (Complete list here here)

Trading in three more securities will be restricted on the platform as of Jan. 11, and OTC Markets said it would continue to evaluate whether it needs to remove others based on guidance from the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

The investment bans, which are the result of an executive order issued by President Donald Trump in November, have sowed confusion among investors as to which companies were affected.

The New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday said it would delist three companies as a result of the order, reversing a decision made days earlier that the companies could remain listed on the Big Board, which was a flip-flop from last Thursday when the NYSE announce the securities would be banned.

Index makers, including S&P Dow Jones Indices, FTSE Russell and MSCI Inc, have also cut certain Chinese companies from their benchmarks, based on the executive order.

Reporting by John McCrank; editing by Megan Davies and Nick Zieminski