September 14, 2017 / 7:13 AM / 10 months ago

Shanghai shares ease from 20-mth high after China's soft activity, spending data

SHANGHAI, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Shanghai stocks fell on Thursday, snapping a brief foray into 20-month highs, after data showed the world’s second-largest economy may be starting to lose some steam as lending costs rise.

The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.3 percent, to 3,829.96 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.4 percent to 3,371.43 points.

Fixed-asset investment, a key growth driver for the nation’s economy, rose 7.8 percent in the first eight months of the year, the weakest pace since December 1999 and cooling from 8.3 percent in January-July.

Factory output also disappointed, rising 6.0 percent in August from a year earlier, the slowest in nine months, statistics bureau data showed.

“In particular, infrastructure spending has now begun to cool as the front-loading of fiscal spending this year means that local governments are now having to pare back their outlays,” Capital Economics said in a note.

“With tighter monetary conditions still weighing on credit growth, we expect a further slowdown in economic activity in coming quarters.”

Most sectors lost ground, with resources and banking firms leading the decline.

But developers far outperformed the broader market with a 4 percent jump, advancing to a fresh 20-mont high, after data showed real estate investment growth picked up pace again in August.

Shares in top developer China Vanke surged 7 percent to 28.1 yuan ($4.29), within sight of their record high hit in mid-November.

A resilient property market will be good news for China’s policymakers, who want to keep the real estate market stable ahead of a once-in-five-year Communist Party congress in October. Real estate investment, which directly affects 40 other business sectors in China, is considered a crucial driver for the economy.

$1 = 6.5472 Chinese yuan renminbi Reporting by Luoyan Liu and John Ruwitch; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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