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– This is the script of CNBC's news report for China's CCTV on August 17, Wednesday.
Welcome to CNBC Business Daily, I'm Qian Chen.
China's Premier Li Keqiang said the Cabinet had approved the launch of the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect program, putting in motion the final link of an ambitious plan to connect the gigantic stock markets of Hong Kong and the mainland.
It also scrapped overall quota limits for an earlier scheme linking Hong Kong to the Shanghai stock exchange, and said there were no overall limits for the new scheme - a restriction that has been a sticking point for big institutional investors on market access issues.
Now, if you take a look at what you can trade -- Northboundwise, you can go after
SZSE component index, SZSE small mid cap innovatio index and dually listed SESE companies.
Meanwhile, daily northbound quota is CNY 13 BN.
While mainland investors can trade --
Hang seng composite large cap index, HSI mid cap index, HSI small cap index and dually listed HKSE companies.
By giving the green light to the final links of an ambitious plan to connect Hong Kong to China's mainland markets - giving foreign investors more exposure to Chinese stocks - Beijing appears to strengthen its case for the inclusion of Chinese shares in global index providers such as MSCI.
[STEVEN SUN, HSBC Head of China Equity Strategy] "I think the most significant thing obviuosly is, as Charles Li mentioned, is the abolishment of the aggregate quota. That's gonna significantly increase the probability of the MSCI inclusion of A share market. I don't rule out the adhwal includion by the end of this year. Certainly that's something China is aming for with this bold policy move."
Calling the connect's launch "imminent," Li told CNBC that he was upbeat about the link despite revenue from the existing Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect program falling 38 percent on-year to 71 million Hong Kong dollars ($9.2 million) in the six months to June 30.
In its half-yearly report, released on Wednesday, the HKEx reported a 27 percent on-year decline in net profit to 3 billion Hong Kong dollars, and said that average daily turnover almost halved in the period to HK$67.5 billion.
CNBC's Qian Chen, reporting from Singapore.