* SSEC -1.1%, CSI300 -1.2%, HSI -1.7%
* China premier warns of ‘hard battle’ still ahead on economy
* Hong Kong to tighten social distancing measures after jump in virus cases
SHANGHAI, July 14 (Reuters) - Chinese shares fell on Tuesday amid continued uncertainty over the economic outlook and as investors booked profits after a torrid bull run, while renewed lockdown measures weighed on the Hong Kong’s benchmark index.
** At the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index was down 1.1% at 3,405.30 points. The index gained more than 14% for the month so far. The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 1.24%. ** The ChiNext Composite start-up board, which hit multi-year highs in the previous session, fell 1.96% and the Shenzhen index slipped 1.43%. ** Shares dropped despite data showing China’s exports unexpectedly rose last month as overseas economies reopened, while imports grew for the first time this year, bolstering hopes that Beijing’s recovery from the pandemic is gaining traction. ** But while China’s economy is showing steady recovery, a hard battle still lies ahead as the situation remains severe both at home and abroad, state radio quoted Premier Li Keqiang as saying on Monday. ** Adding to broad market concerns were rising tensions between the United States and China. ** Washington on Monday rejected China’s disputed claims to offshore resources in the South China Sea, and China announced sanctions against U.S. officials and entities in retaliation for U.S. sanctions over alleged human rights abuses against the Uighur Muslim minority.
** Trading volumes remain high, with about 33.96 billion shares traded so far on the Shanghai exchange, roughly 105.6% of the market’s 30-day moving average of 32.18 billion shares a day.
** Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong fell 1.99% to 10,365.4, while the Hang Seng Index dropped 1.69% at 25,335.96. ** Hong Kong will tighten social distancing measures again from Wednesday as the Asian financial hub posted a third wave of coronavirus infections. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index fell 1.19%, while Japan’s Nikkei index was down 0.95%. ** The yuan was quoted at 7.0109 per U.S. dollar, 0.18% weaker than the previous close of 6.998. (Reporting by Andrew Galbraith, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)