March 19, 2018 / 4:28 AM / 3 months ago

China, Hong Kong stocks firm as Beijing elects key economic team

* SSEC +0.2 pct, CSI300 +0.3 pct, HSI +0.2 pct

* HK->Shanghai Connect daily quota used 4.9 pct

* Shanghai->HK daily quota used 3.2 pct

* BNY Mellon ADR China Select Index +0.5 pct

SHANGHAI, March 19 (Reuters) - China and Hong Kong stocks rose on Monday morning after Beijing elected a key economic team, and as investors awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve rate decision later this week. ** At 04:02 GMT, the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.17 percent at 3,275.37, while the blue-chip CSI300 index was up 0.29 percent at 4,068.24. ** Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong rose 0.08 percent at 12,683.5, while the Hang Seng Index was up 0.19 percent at 31,562.14. ** Liu He, a key economic adviser to China’s President Xi Jinping, was elected by parliament to be a vice premier, while vice central bank governor Yi Gang was chosen to take over the helm at the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). ** Liu’s promotion telegraphs Beijing’s intention to press ahead with a clampdown on riskier financing and a rapid build-up in debt to reduce systemic risks to the world’s second-largest economy. ** Yi’s appointment is likely to be viewed as a sign of continuity in PBOC’s policies as policymakers try to rein in risks from an increasingly complex financial system without jolting markets or hurting economic growth. ** “The main task right now is to implement prudent monetary policy, push forward financial sector reform and opening up, and keep the financial sector stable,” Yi told reporters on the sidelines of Monday’s parliament session at the Great Hall of the People. ** “Based on opinions expressed in his writing, we expect Mr. Yi to maintain a neutral monetary policy stance and thus essentially stable liquidity conditions,” Nomura wrote in a note. ** Investors were cautious in a week in which the U.S. Federal Reserve is likely to hike rates. ** All 104 analysts polled by Reuters expected the Fed to raise rates to between 1.5 percent and 1.75 percent on Wednesday. ** Property firms dropped both on the mainland and in Hong Kong, after data showed China’s new home price growth slowed in February, with the CSI300 Real Estate Index down 2.2 percent by the lunchbreak. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.25 percent while Japan’s Nikkei index was down 0.79 percent. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.3318 per U.S. dollar, 0.04 percent weaker than the previous close of 6.329. ** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were Shenzhen Geoway Co Ltd up 10.06 percent, followed by Zhe Jiang Dong Ri Ltd Co gaining 10.04 percent and Wanxiang Doneed Co Ltd up by 10.02 percent. ** The largest percentage losers in the Shanghai index were Cultural Investment Holdings Co Ltd down 9.99 percent, followed by Shanghai Fukong Interactive Entertainment Co Ltd losing 7.88 percent and China Hainan Rubber Industry Group Co Ltd down by 6.15 percent. ** The top gainers among H-shares were Postal Savings Bank of China Co Ltd up 1.6 percent, followed by CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd gaining 1.5 percent and China Pacific Insurance Group Co Ltd up by 1.36 percent. ** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were China Vanke Co Ltd which has fallen 3.47 percent, Anhui Conch Cement Co Ltd which lost 3.0 percent and Air China Ltd down by 2.7 percent. ** About 7.66 billion shares have traded so far on the Shanghai exchange, roughly 41.9 percent of the market’s 30-day moving average of 18.29 billion shares a day. The volume traded was 14.12 billion as of the last full trading day. ** As of 04:02 GMT, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 23.90 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares.

Reporting by Samuel Shen, Luoyan Liu and John Ruwitch; Editing by Sunil Nair

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