China's Largest Chipmaker De-Lists From NYSE

It's only 9 am in New York but Friday's session has already featured a frantic flurry of trade-war-related headlines that have - at least in the market's view - overshadowed Theresa May's tearful announcement that she will be stepping down as PM.

Chip

Beijing repudiated President Trump's Thursday claim about a 'speedy' trade deal, saying there were no plans for a Trump-Xi meeting. US stock futures pared gains on that headline. Also, US firms ratcheted up the pressure on Huawei, with Microsoft joining the contingent of chip and tech companies that is planning to cut ties with Huawei over Washington's blacklisting.

And now, the South China Morning Post is reporting that China's largest chipmaker is withdrawing its ADRs from the New York Stock Exchange, and will subsequently trade only in Hong Kong. The company said 'low trading volumes' and the 'cost of maintaining the listing' motivated its decision.

China’s biggest maker of semiconductors is to withdraw from the New York Stock Exchange as the increasingly ferocious trade war with the US spills over into the technology sector.

Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC) said on Friday evening it has notified NYSE of its intention to apply on June 3 to delist its so-called American depositary receipts from the bourse. In a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange, where its shares are listed, SMIC cited low trading volumes of its ADRs and the costs of maintaining the listing and complying with reporting requirements and related laws.

The delisting is expected to happen after June 13, and trading of the chip maker’s US securities will shift to the over-the-counter market, the statement said.

The sudden move comes as Washington steps up efforts to cut off its technology from China, with trade negotiations between the world’s two largest economies still deadlocked.

Just a few days ago, Steve Bannon told the SCMP that he would like to see Chinese companies shut out from American capital markets. It appears Beijing is doing him one better.

Meanwhile, a growing number of sell-side strategists now see a protracted trade war as the 'base-case' scenario. The latest assessment from Rabobank concluded that it's extremely unlikely that either side will offer an olive branch in the near future: "That ship has sailed."

China is battening down the hatches for a "Long March" and doesn’t even want to talk to the US. In fact, Xi and Trump might not even meet at the end of June in Osaka, in which case there is no obvious off-ramp.

Hovering in the background is Steve Bannon's 'superhawkishness'. President Trump has already accomplished something incredible: He's united a disparate group of business leaders and politicians from both parties behind his hard-line approach. This might give him the cover he needs to ignore the market, at least until things start getting really bad.

In the mean time, expect more Chinese companies will demonstrate their 'independence' from American markets.