Trade war to hurt U.S. companies more than Chinese: MSCI expert

Updated 2018-05-03 11:14:19 Xinhua

Amid the trade tension between China and the United States, while much of the ongoing analyses focus on China's reliance on exports to the U.S., American companies and their investors have greater revenue exposure to China, an expert said.

Wei Zhen, head of China research at global index provider MSCI, said in an article on the MSCI website, "5.1 percent of the revenues of companies in the MSCI USA Index come from China and may be at risk as a result of a trade war. In comparison, only 2.8 percent of the revenues of the companies in the MSCI China Index come from the U.S."

To quantify the potential impact from an equity portfolio perspective, MSCI examined Chinese firms' revenue exposure to the United States and vice versa at a sector level, derived from the MSCI Economic Exposure database.

The study showed that China's information technology and energy sectors are the most exposed to the U.S. economy. On the other hand, the U.S. information technology, materials, industrials, consumer staples and energy sectors all have relatively high exposure to China's economy.

"While an expanded trade war could lead to a 'lose-lose' outcome, there could be greater impact for stocks in the U.S. Overall, they are more exposed to the Chinese economy than the other way around," Wei noted.

A trade war could also have repercussions beyond the two countries.

According to MSCI, international developed markets have more exposure to the United States in general, especially within the healthcare and consumer discretionary sectors, though they are more dependent on China within real estate.

Emerging markets and Asia ex Japan are more exposed to China by wide margins across all sectors, with the exception of information technology and consumer discretionary, where the differences are smaller.

"Given the potential effects of a trade war, even high-quality stocks with attractive valuations that have such exposure may need to be re-evaluated," Wei said.

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