First came last week’s decision by Donald Trump to pull the US out of the Paris climate accord, ceding leadership over the global green agenda to China and Europe. Then there is the prospect of MSCI, the index provider, deciding this month to include some Chinese A shares into one of its benchmarks for the first time.
“What the Chinese dream about is blue sky and blue water,” says Karine Hirn, partner at East Capital, an emerging market asset manager. “Investment into the global leaders in environmental protection is very exciting.”
“中国人的梦想是蓝天碧水，”新兴市场资产管理公司East Capital的合伙人习卡琳(Karine Hirn)表示。“投资于环保领域的全球领军者非常激动人心。”
Environmental degradation in China — the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases — has created an unstoppable “green” momentum, galvanised by social pressure and reinforced by Beijing’s regulatory will.
This means there is no chance that Beijing will follow the US and back out of the 2015 Paris agreement to combat climate change, says Wang Yao, director-general of the International Institute of Green Finance in Beijing.
北京绿色金融国际研究院(International Institute of Green Finance)院长王遥表示，这意味着北京方面不可能追随美国，退出旨在对抗气候变化的2015年巴黎协定。
Mr Trump’s move “makes China into a leader”, she adds in an interview. “But really we are just doing what we must do for our own domestic reasons. We face a very serious environmental challenge so we must continue with green development.”
This imperative has accelerated an avalanche of investment in clean technologies, green transportation and renewable energy in the past few years. China has more than a third of the world’s wind power capacity; a quarter of its solar power; six of the top 10 solar-panel makers; and four of the top 10 wind turbine makers. It recorded more battery-only electric car sales last year than the rest of the world combined.
Ms Hirn estimates that a sum roughly equivalent to the GDP of Denmark is invested in Chinese clean tech each year, while the total market capitalisation of about 350 listed green Chinese companies is about $600bn. But although these are big numbers, she says, China will need far greater investment if it hopes to rehabilitate its contaminated air, land and water.
John Lin, portfolio manager at AllianceBernstein, is also animated by the green theme. Opportunities have come in industries where small polluting factories have been shut en masse, boosting profit margins for larger environmentally friendly group, he says.
In paper production, shares in Nine Dragons Paper and Shandong Chenming Paper have impressed, while there have been beneficiaries in steel, non-ferrous metals and chemicals, Mr Lin says.
林桦堂表示，在造纸行业，玖龙纸业(Nine Dragons Paper)和山东晨鸣纸业(Shandong Chenming Paper)近期股票表现令人印象深刻，同时钢铁、有色金属和化工等行业也都涌现了受益者。
Ms Hirn favours the clean transportation theme, particularly companies involved in new energy vehicle technology. Opportunities beckon in waste management and air pollution control as local governments answer exhortations from Beijing to clean up their cities, she adds.
Many companies that stand to gain from the green agenda are listed on the $7tn domestic A-share market, which remains exotic for many overseas funds. However, this could change on June 20.
If MSCI decides to include A shares in its emerging markets index, passive managers will be obliged to take on exposure for the first time, while active managers seek the best Chinese stocks, says Caroline Owen, chief executive, of RMB Global Advisors in New York. “We are on the verge of one of the greatest rebalancings in global portfolios in recent years,” she says.
纽约RMB Global Advisors首席执行官卡罗琳?欧文(Caroline Owen)表示，如果MSCI明晟决定将A股纳入其新兴市场指数，被动基金管理公司不得不首次建立A股敞口，而主动型投资管理机构将寻觅最优秀的中国股票。“我们正站在近年来规模最大的全球投资组合再平衡之一的门槛上。”
MSCI delayed inclusion for a third straight year last June, citing regulatory worries and the need for greater accessibility for global investors. This year it has reduced the number of A shares slated for inclusion from 448 to 169, in a move that was intended to make inclusion more palatable to global asset managers.
However, it is possible that yet again the decision will be negative. “I heard there were some technical issues that may make it tough to include A shares this year,” says a fund manager who declined to be identified.