Hong Kong shares may start higher, trim weekly losses
Feb 8 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares may edge higher at the open on Friday as investors wait on China's January trade and inflation data, which will round out the last day of trading before the Lunar New Year holiday.
China's economic rebound should show signs of strengthening on Friday when the first hard economic numbers for 2012 are released, although distortions caused by the Lunar New Year holiday will make it difficult to gauge momentum.
On Thursday, the Hang Seng Index ended down 0.4 percent at 23,177 points, but above Tuesday's one-month closing low at 23,148.5. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong shed 1.4 percent.
The Hang Seng Index is now down 2.3 percent on the week, currently its worst showing since November. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong is down 4.4 percent this week so far, its worst since July.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was down 0.8 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was up 0.1 percent at 0051 GMT.
FACTORS TO WATCH:
* Russia's United Company RUSAL Plc, the world's top aluminium producer, said on Friday that it forecast 2013 global aluminium demand to rise 6 percent to 50 million tonnes. RUSAL's aluminium output rose 1 percent in 2012 to 4.17 million tonnes, while alumina production fell 8 percent to 7.48 million tonnes.
* Canadian coal miner SouthGobi Resources Ltd said Mongolia's anti-corruption authority has imposed restrictions on the company's Mongolian unit, including its local bank accounts, as it investigates asset sales.
* HSBC will close the accounts of some customers in the Middle East and North Africa with links to sanction-targeted nations, the bank said on Thursday, as the lender looks to cut the heavy compliance costs associated with them.
* Mid-sized lender China Minsheng Bank has received regulatory approval to issue 20 billion yuan ($3.21 billion) in six-year convertible bonds, a company official said on Thursday.
* Birmingham International Holdings Ltd said it has been formally approached by a sports management company which has indicated it can lead a consortium to consider the purchase of the Birmingham City Football Club Plc. The company's lawyers are currently in contact with the interested party to clarify the approach.
* Hang Lung Group Ltd and Hang Lung Properties Ltd said they have acquired land use rights to a piece of land for commercial property development in China's Wuhan for 3.3 billion yuan.
* Shui On Land Ltd said its sales target for residential properties in 2013 would be about 9 billion yuan and the sales target for en bloc commercial properties would be 2 billion yuan.
* Agile Property Holdings Ltd said its contracted sales for January amounted to 2.48 billion yuan.(Reporting by Clement Tan and Donny Kwok; Editing by Richard Pullin)
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