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Shenzhen, Abu Dhabi Exchanges Link Up as China, Middle East move Closer

SHANGHAI, Dec 14 (Reuters) - The stock exchange in China's city of Shenzhen and the Abu Dhabi securities exchange agreed to promote cross-border investment and listings in the latest flurry of co-operation between institutions in countries looking to cut reliance on the West.

It comes days after a similar pact between the Shenzhen exchange and the Saudi exchange, and less than a month after another between the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Dubai Financial Market.

"What we're seeing is that international investment flows are shifting," said Mike Wardle, chief executive of think tank Z/Yen Group, which is based in London.

A lot of investments are starting to flow into China from the Middle East and vice versa, he added, even as some global investors are leaving China for Southeast Asian countries, such as Vietnam or Malaysia.

The signing of the memorandum of understanding between the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in the southern Chinese city and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) in the United Arab Emirates was announced late on Wednesday.

Chinese-ruled Hong Kong has also been deepening ties with the Middle East, with the recent launch of the Asia-Pacific region's first exchange-traded fund (ETF) tracking Saudi Arabian equities.

The Saudi sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, is boosting its investment to roughly $200 million in China's eWTP Capital, which targets innovative start-ups, the government said in a statement this month.

The Middle East has grown increasingly important to Beijing as ties with Washington have soured amid disagreements on a range of issues from trade and technology to human rights and Taiwan.

"The Gulf countries see it is in their interest to be building strong relationships with China," Wardle said, as they seek to cut reliance on traditional trading partner the United States.

"They want to build greater connectivity with different parts of the world," he added. "And China is such a huge economy. They want to be involved in part of it."

The pact between the Shenzhen exchange and ADX focuses on bolstering cross-border index and ETF co-operation, as well as exploring international financing opportunities, the two said in separate statements.

Reporting by Samuel Shen and Tom Westbrook; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

Source: Reuters

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