NYSE backtracks on plan to delist Chinese telecom companies

The exchange's U-turn came just four days after it said it would delist the telecom companies to comply with an executive order

A price screen display is seen above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shortly as coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the city of New York rise, in New York, U.S., March 16, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

The New York Stock Exchange said it will no longer delist China’s three biggest state-owned telecommunications companies, backtracking on a plan that had threatened to escalate tensions between the world’s largest economies.

NYSE’s U-turn came just four days after the exchange said it would remove shares of China Mobile, China Telecom Corporation and China Unicom Hong Kong to comply with a US executive order. NYSE cited “consultation with relevant regulatory authorities” in a brief statement late on Monday announcing the reversal.

Shares of China Mobile, China Telecom and Unicom rallied on the latest development, rising more than 6 per cent in Hong Kong trading. Calls and emails to the companies weren’t immediately returned on Tuesday.

On New Year’s Eve, NYSE said it would delist the companies to comply with a November order by US President Donald Trump barring American investments in Chinese firms owned or controlled by the military. It was the first time an American exchange had announced plans to remove a Chinese company as a direct result of rising geopolitical tensions between the two superpowers.

The move to delist the shares had heightened concerns about tit-for-tat sanctions on Chinese and American companies. The former have turned to the US stock market for capital and international prestige for more than two decades, raising at least $144 billion from some of the world’s largest investors. Wall Street banks are particularly keen to see a ratcheting down of tensions after gaining unprecedented scope to operate in China last year.