SHANGHAI, Dec 20 (Reuters) - China stocks eased on Friday, but posted their third straight weekly gain on improving relations between Washington and Beijing after they reached an initial trade deal last week.
** The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.3%, to 4,017.25, while the Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.4%, to 3,004.94.
** For the week, CSI300 gained 1.2%, while SSEC was up 1.23%.
** U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday the United States and China would sign their so-called Phase one trade pact at the beginning of January, adding that it was completely finished and just undergoing a technical “scrub.”
** China on Thursday unveiled a new list of import tariff exemptions for six chemical and oil products from the United States, days after the world’s two largest economies announced the initial trade deal.
** On Friday, overseas investors bought into the A-share market for the 27th straight session, their longest spell of buying this year. The robust flows helped power the country’s tech names to record highs, as Beijing vows to build its own tech capabilities.
** As the initial trade deal removed some of the uncertainty over the Sino-U.S. tariff dispute, investors turned their focus to the health of the world’s largest economy and Beijing’s policy moves.
** China’s economy could face more downward pressure in 2020 than it did this year, but the government will take steps to keep growth within a reasonable range, state television on Thursday quoted Premier Li Keqiang as saying.
** Economic growth slowed to a near 30-year low in the third quarter, however, policymakers have been more cautious about growth-boosting measures than in past downturns.
** China stood pat on its lending benchmark rate on Friday, as widely expected, after the central bank kept borrowing costs of medium-term loans steady earlier this month.
** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.13%, while Japan’s Nikkei index was down 0.20%.
** The yuan was quoted at 7.0151 per U.S. dollar, 0.07% weaker than the previous close of 7.01.
** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 21%, while China’s H-share index is up 8.5%. Shanghai stocks have risen 5% this month.
** As of 07:16 GMT, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 26.60% over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)