September 5, 2017 / 9:06 AM / a year ago

Australian market operator queries Chinese companies on capital flows

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX.AX) said on Tuesday it has written to more than 40 Chinese companies listed locally, asking whether China’s crackdown on capital outflows presents them any difficulties.

FILE PHOTO: A visitor takes a photograph of a board displaying stock prices at the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in Sydney, Australia March 6, 2017. REUTERS/Steven Saphore

China last year launched a clampdown on outflows and overseas direct investment to support its ailing yuan currency and ease pressure on the country’s foreign exchange reserves.

Measures include vetting transfers of $5 million or more and increased scrutiny on outbound corporate investment. Those involved in helping Chinese invest overseas say it is now much tougher to get money out of the country.

The ASX made its requests as a “precautionary step to help ensure the market is kept informed,” its spokesman, Matthew Gibbs, said in an emailed statement.

“By asking companies to clarify their position, ASX and investors can assess if the issue is isolated or widespread. Based on the responses released to the market thus far, it appears the funding concerns are specific to one company that is already suspended,” it said, without naming the company.

At least 13 small Sydney-listed Chinese companies had responded to the ASX query by late Tuesday, and none said they encountered any difficulties transferring funds between China and Australia.

The ASX imposed no deadline for responses and said it had taken similar action before, writing in July to mining companies exposed to law changes in Tanzania.

Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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