April 12, 2019 / 8:31 AM / 2 months ago

Hong Kong stocks end firmer on upbeat China data

* HSI +0.2 pct, HSCE +0.4 pct, CSI300 -0.2 pct

* China March exports rebound to 5-month high, but imports fall more than expected

* China March new loans jump to 1.69 trln yuan, above forecasts

SHANGHAI, April 12 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks reversed earlier losses to close higher on Friday after better-than-expected exports data on the mainland, and as data showed China banks extended far more-than-expected new yuan loans as Beijing strives to bolster growth.

** The Hang Seng index closed up 0.2 percent at 29,909.76 points, while the China Enterprises Index gained 0.4 percent to 11,659.84 points.

** For the week, HSI slipped 0.1 percent, while HSCE dipped 0.3 percent.

** China’s exports rebounded in March, but imports shrank for a fourth straight month and at a sharper pace, painting a mixed picture of the economy, as trade talks with the United States reach their endgame.

** Investors are hoping for more signs of economic recovery in China to temper worries about slowing global growth, after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) this week downgraded its 2019 world outlook for the third time.

** Chinese banks extended 1.69 trillion yuan ($251.69 billion) in net new yuan loans in March, up sharply from February and far more than expected, as policymakers push lenders to support struggling smaller companies and shore up the slowing economy.

** Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted new yuan loans of 1.2 trillion yuan in March, up from 885.8 billion yuan in February.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.22 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 0.73 percent.

** The yuan was quoted at 6.7159 per U.S. dollar at 0819 GMT, 0.05 percent firmer than the previous close of 6.719.

** About 1.61 billion Hang Seng index shares were traded, roughly 84.8 percent of the market’s 30-day moving average of 1.90 billion shares a day. The volume traded in the previous trading session was 1.96 billion.

** At close, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 24.66 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares.

$1 = 6.7147 Chinese yuan Reporting by the Shanghai Newsroom, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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