China securities regulator says NYSE delistings 'political', impact 'limited'

Shares in China Telecom, one of the firms to be delisted, fell as much as 5 per cent. PHOTO: REUTERS

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - China's securities regulator on Sunday (Jan 3) said New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) plans to delist three Chinese telecom firms are "political" and that the impact will be "limited".

The NYSE on Thursday said it would delist China Mobile Ltd, China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd and China Telecom Corp Ltd following US President Donald Trump's move in November to bar US investment in 31 firms that Washington says are owned or controlled by the Chinese military.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission, in a question and answer posted on its official website, said the plans are "politically motivated".

The move "completely disregards the actual situation of the relevant companies and the legitimate rights and interests of global investors and severely undermines normal market rules and order," the Chinese regulator said.

The overall scale of the American Deposit Receipts listed by the three companies is small, it said, with a total market value of less than 20 billion yuan (S$4.06 billion), or 2.2 per cent of the total equity of the three firms.

"Even if delisted, the direct impact on the companies' development and market operation is quite limited," the regulator said.

China's commerce ministry said on Saturday it will take "necessary measures" to safeguard the interests of Chinese companies.

China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom said they had not received notification from the NYSE of its delisting decision.

Shares in China Telecom fell as much as 5 per cent and those of China Mobile 3.5 per cent against a 0.46 per cent rise in the Hang Seng Index.

In the final weeks before President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Jan 20, the Trump administration has stepped up its hard-line stance against China.

Relations between the two biggest economies have come under increasing strain amid a series of disputes over issues such as trade and human rights.

The US Commerce Department added dozens of Chinese companies to a trade blacklist in December, accusing Beijing of using them to harness civilian technology for military purposes.

Chinese diplomats have expressed hope that Mr Biden's election will help ease tension between the two countries.

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