November 9, 2017 / 7:15 AM / a year ago

China blue-chips end at 2-yr high as inflation signals economy remains robust

SHANGHAI, Nov 9 (Reuters) - China stocks rose on Thursday, led by the blue-chip index scaling a fresh two-year high, as investors were encouraged by strong inflation data that showed economic momentum remains robust.

The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.7 percent, to 4,075.90 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index closed up 0.4 percent to 3,427.79 points.

China’s producer prices were surprisingly strong in October, while consumer inflation picked up pace, suggesting the economy remains robust, easing market concerns of a slowdown.

“The upshot is that price pressures in China appear strong on the back of still rapid economic growth, a tight labour market, capacity cuts and temporary disruptions to industrial production,” Julian Evans-Pritchard, China Economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a note to clients.

Sentiment was also aided by Chinese media reporting that stock fund sales have begun to pick up in recent months in China, potentially channelling fresh money into the market.

Underscoring rising risk appetite in China, outstanding margin loans - money investors borrow to buy stocks - has stayed for four consecutive days above 1 trillion yuan, a level not seen since January, 2016.

Most sectors gained ground on Thursday.

The country’s largest coal miner China Shenhua Energy leapt 7.4 percent, leading the advance in the energy sector, boosted in part by a recent bull run in oil markets.

Banking and transport firms lagged, down 0.4 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.

In a sign of continued interest in sector leaders with solid fundamentals, home appliance maker Qingdao Haier extended gains to a new high, after data showed international investors boosted bets via Shanghai-Hong Kong stock connect. (Reporting by Luoyan Liu and John Ruwitch; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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