March 12 (Reuters) - Hong Kong’s main stock indices rose on Thursday, led by banking shares, as investors expect that Beijing’s plans to let local governments swap out expensive debt will improve asset quality at Chinese lenders.
The Hang Seng index rose 0.3 percent, to 23,797.96, while the China Enterprises Index gained 1.3 percent, to 11,565.80 points.
China unveiled plans to exchange 1 trillion yuan ($159.70 billion) worth of local government high-interest maturing debt for low-interest municipal or provincial bonds. Analysts say the move would help bolster lenders’ balance sheets.
Chinese banks listed in Hong Kong, including Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank and Bank of China, which represent sizable weightings in Hong Kong’s benchmark index, all posted strong gains.
Among the most actively traded stocks on Hong Kong’s main board were Suncorp Tech, up 9.6 percent to HK$0.57 and Hybrid Kinetic, up 13.2 percent to HK$0.43.
Total trading volume of companies included in the HSI index was 1.7 billion shares. (Reporting by Samuel Shen and Pete Sweeney; Editing by Richard Borsuk)